Unless anyone has forgotten the debacle of Florida and the 2000 presidential election ó ďhanging chadsĒ and a presidential result hanging on the Supreme Court ó they will appreciate the need for reliable voting equipment.

Touch-screen voting and optical-scan election machines are aging in Kansas, leaving the state at risk of problems for the 2016 elections and beyond, if not replaced in the meantime, The Kansas City Star reported last week.

That should concern Kansas lawmakers and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, but it isnít something that seems high on the radar at this point.

Maybe it is because of the expected high cost and the lack of federal money to pay for new machines like states had from the Help America Vote Act a decade ago.

But where Kobach is concerned, maybe he just isnít concerned about this aspect of election integrity. Heís more fixated on illegal voting by undocumented immigrants, which long ago was proven to be a virtual nonexistent problem. But illegal immigration continues to be his nearly singular focus Ö

Kansas has bigger concerns with the integrity of its elections. One is the aging technology, which was cited in a report issued nearly a year ago by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. That report contains a number of other good recommendations and best practices for well-run elections. Tighter controls to prevent voting by illegal immigrants isnít one of them.

If Kansas truly cares about the integrity of its elections, this report should be thoroughly digested by the Secretary of Stateís Office and/or a legislative committee, resulting in a plan of action for this state.

Voters need to have faith in their election system. Many voters say they still use paper ballots because they donít completely trust computers. Optical-scanning vote-counting machines are essentially computers, too, but they should be producing a paper trail to provide hard-copy documentation in the event of a challenge or recount. Ö

The next generation of election technology in Kansas needs to jump to the top of the agenda, and these are the kinds of conversations we should be having. The election process more broadly continues to be scrutinized by voters, and many of us havenít forgotten the 2000 election.

ó The Hutchinson News