Secretary of State Kris Kobach whines about rampant voter fraud that doesnít exist, while the real concern is in policies affecting election outcomes ó namely onerous proof-of-citizenship requirements.

An Associated Press report recently revealed thousands of uncounted provisional ballots were thrown out in November because the state didnít have a record of those would-be voters being registered.

In the 11 largest counties, 8,864 ballots were not counted, slightly more than 1 percent of votes cast ó enough to make a difference in close down-ballot races.

Johnson County alone saw 2,873 ballots tossed.

The problem involved people who tried to register on the secretary of state website and with motor vehicle offices. Notified ahead of the election, Kobachís office blamed ďtechnicalĒ issues, yet didnít ensure that all legitimate voter registrations were honored and every vote counted.

Thatís inexcusable.

Local election officials cited a disturbing trend over the last two election cycles in more Kansans who thought their voter registrations were completed, but their names never made it to voter rolls. Some kept screenshots from the secretary of state website showing they had registered successfully for the 2016 election, yet their ballots were trashed.

Many thousands of attempted voter registrations have somehow been invalidated on Kobachís watch.

As sidelining even a few prospective voters cannot be tolerated, the Kansas Legislature has to address Kobach-inspired maneuvers that have damaged voter rights.

The first step should be in demanding a statewide count of provisional ballots thrown out in the last election.

Combined, all recent revelations should lead to repeal of laws proven to discourage voting, and pushed by Kobach and fellow ultraconservatives intent on disenfranchising certain voters not likely to agree with their extreme-right agendas.

Self-serving politicians who canít win on ideas will seek an edge in other ways, which means possible tampering with election results also warrants investigation. Serious questions remain over voting anomalies observed in the 2014 election in Sedgwick County, when Gov. Sam Brownback won re-election by a narrow margin.

A secretary of state who serves as the stateís chief elections officer, and has nothing to hide, would welcome such inquiries.

While taxes, the budget and school finance understandably will consume much of the current legislative session, issues surrounding voter rights and election integrity also must be addressed.