Voter gap: Kansans should seek change in secretary of state race


Secretary of State Kris Kobach has drawn challengers this election year, and for good reason.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach has drawn challengers this election year, and for good reason.

The ultraconservative Republican has wasted taxpayer time and money crafting strategies to address problems that don't exist, making him a driving force behind voter suppression measures.

He pushed for an unnecessary Voter ID requirement, when voter fraud wasn't an issue. His pursuit of proof of citizenship to vote has left some 18,000 prospective Kansas voters in limbo.

Kobach also unsuccessfully angled for a way to do the work of county attorneys in prosecuting election fraud.

And, his absurd engagement in the "birther" nonsense surrounding President Barack Obama's citizenship brought still more unwanted attention to the state.

With aspirations for higher political office, Kobach has done his best to pander to the anti-immigrant crowd with his crusade against supposed voter fraud.

And now, Kobach's opponents are left to offer ways to counter his missteps.

Former state senator and Republican-turned-Democrat Jean Schodorf recently shared her ideas on addressing issues triggered by the flawed policies, including allowing voters now in suspension to cast ballots until the state fixes the problem.

Schodorf did vote for the proof-of-citizenship requirement while in the Kansas Senate, unfortunately, but claimed it wasn't implemented as she expected.

She also suggested easier ways to provide documentation to satisfy proof of citizenship, and called for the state to immediately accept voters registered in other states when they move here.

Schodorf and Kobach's Republican primary challenger, Scott Morgan of Lawrence, know Kobach's initiatives have disenfranchised voters.

The policies do indeed target the poor, elderly, disabled and minorities who may not have photo ID or immediate access to documents needed to prove citizenship. Those folks also are more likely to vote Democratic, or for more traditional Republicans not in step with ultraconservatives like Kobach.

Too few people head to the polls as it is. It's simply impossible to defend any policy that makes it more difficult to vote.

Assaults on voter rights have no place in our democracy. Kansans who believe as much should be eager for change in the secretary of state's office.

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