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Archive for the ‘Secretaries of State’ Category

Mississippi GOP Aims for a Sweep

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Republican Party has launched a major push to capture the Mississippi House of Representatives this fall, a goal that has eluded it since Reconstruction and that would remove nearly every vestige of Democratic control from the state’s government.

A win for Republicans in Mississippi on Nov. 8 would complete a near sweep of state governments across the South that began decades ago and accelerated in last year’s midterm elections. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee now have Republican governors and the GOP controls both houses of the legislature in those states and North Carolina.

Mississippi is one of only four states holding legislative elections this year. The others are Louisiana, Virginia and New Jersey, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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KS: Secretary of State plans to move up start date for Voter ID


Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Wednesday he will renew a push next year to move up the start date for new Kansas voter identification laws.

Kobach said he would like to have people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas show proof of citizenship starting in March 2012, not January 2013 as the law now requires. He spoke before a meeting of a task force working on implementing the new law.

The secretary of state said the goal was to prevent any non-U.S. citizens from registering to vote in Kansas and spoiling the integrity of the state’s elections. The sooner Kansas can begin verifying citizenship, the more secure the elections will be, he argues.

“That’s really the main legislative change I would like to see,” the Republican said. “That way, the bulk of the registrations in the 2012 cycle will be properly analyzed for citizenship.”

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Primary Day in Mississippi

From the AP:

Mississippians are voting Tuesday in party primaries for statewide, regional, legislative and county races.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and were to close at 7 p.m.

Democrats’ only statewide contested primary is for governor. Republicans have contested statewide primaries for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, agriculture commissioner and secretary of state.

In some counties, voter turnout will be driven by races for sheriff, supervisor, circuit clerk and chancery clerk.

If runoffs are needed, they’ll be Aug. 23. The general election is Nov. 8.

Mississippi’s top elections official, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, said a new law enacted this year could help ease the headache of long lines at precincts. It requires at least 75 percent of voting machines to be used in each election.

Previous state law didn’t specify what percentage of machines must be used in elections. During the 2010 congressional races, some counties put out too few machines, and voters in several precincts encountered long lines, Hosemann said. The new law came in response to that situation.

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NM: Secretary of State Works to Assure Accurate Voter File


Secretary of State Dianna Duran recently sent 64,000 names of registered voters to state police for investigation. But she said Monday that she doesn’t consider those files to be potential voter-fraud cases.

“Don’t use the words voter fraud, ” Duran said in an interview Monday. “I’m just trying to assure the accuracy of our voter files. … It’s not a fishing expedition. It’s not a witch hunt.”

Since the state police investigation became known earlier this month, Duran has been the object of criticism by some Democrats.

Duran said the files handed over to the Department of Public Safety were “questionable” cases in which information such as names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth on the voter list didn’t match up with information on Motor Vehicle Division files.

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The Case for Voter ID

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach pens a column that appeared in the Wall Street Journal today.


On Thursday, the Wisconsin legislature sent a bill requiring photographic identification for voting to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk. This follows the enactment of an even stricter law in Kansas a few weeks ago.

Drafted by my office, Kansas’s Secure and Fair Elections Act combined three elements: (1) a requirement that voters present photo IDs when they vote in person; (2) a requirement that absentee voters present a full driver’s license number and have their signatures verified; and (3) a proof of citizenship requirement for all newly registered voters. Although a few states, including Georgia, Indiana and Arizona, have enacted one or two of these reforms, Kansas is the only state to enact all three.

Other states are moving in the same direction. The Texas legislature sent a photo-ID bill to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk last Monday. And next year Missouri voters will get a chance to vote on a photo-ID requirement.

Immediately after the Kansas law was signed in April, critics cried foul. They argued that voter fraud isn’t significant enough to warrant such steps, that large numbers of Americans don’t possess photo IDs, and that such laws will depress turnout among the poor and among minorities. They are wrong on all three counts.

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KS: Secretary of State Kris Kobach – Kobach’s Column

From Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach:

Governor Sam Brownback signed HB 2240 on May 12, 2011, a bill my office advocated to improve oversight of cemetery trust funds for the benefit of Kansans. The secretary of state’s office has a statutory duty to audit certain cemetery corporation trust funds to confirm that they are financially able to meet required obligations to purchasers over time.

A cemetery must sustain a permanent maintenance trust fund to generate income in order to maintain the cemetery in perpetuity. Otherwise, bankrupt cemeteries go unmaintained, degrading communities and dishonoring those buried there. For those who purchase cemetery merchandise or services before they are needed, cemeteries must keep sufficient funds in a merchandise trust fund to cover the cost of such goods or services at the time of need.

Because of several instances where cemeteries have not complied with the law, we formed a Cemetery Study Group to evaluate the industry and how the law could be improved. Members were cemetery owners, cemetery trustees, industry experts, the Kansas Bankers Association, the attorney general’s office and the secretary of state’s office. The group set the following goals: (1) to secure the statutory trust funds but still allow the cemeteries to generate reasonable income; (2) to give the secretary of state’s office the ability to respond to irregularities quickly and fairly; and (3) to create an efficient but not overly burdensome method of auditing the trust funds.

The result of the Cemetery Study Group’s efforts was HB 2240, one of the biggest overhauls of cemetery laws in the country and a model for other states to consider. This law offers three benefits. First, it gives consumers better assurance that when their loved ones are laid to rest the cemetery lawn will continue to be mowed, and that the headstone they pre-purchased will be provided at the time of need because the cemetery has sufficient funds in trust. Second, this law protects the reputation of good cemeteries that may be damaged by the illegal actions of a few. And third, it enables regulators to monitor cemetery activity more effectively and efficiently.

I call that a win-win-win.

Kentucky Secretary of State Race is set


Alison Lundergan Grimes, the daughter of a former chairman of Kentucky’s Democratic Party, handily beat incumbent Secretary of State Elaine Walker — who was Gov. Steve Beshear’s choice — to win Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

In November, she’ll face Republican and tea party favorite Bill Johnson, a former U.S. Senate candidate, who narrowly defeated Hilda Legg, a consultant and the former head of the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.

Johnson squeaked by Legg by little more than 1,000 votes in a neck-and-neck race he watched in Louisville

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WI: Proposal to Scale back the Secretary of State office


The duties of Wisconsin’s secretary of state’s office would be dramatically reduced under changes being considered by the Legislature’s budget committee.

The Joint Finance Committee is to vote Thursday on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to transfer the office’s notary public and trademark duties to the Department of Financial Institutions. Other functions would be transferred to the Department of Administration.

Unlike in most states, Wisconsin’s secretary of state is not in charge of elections. Under Walker’s budget, the office would still maintain the official acts of the Legislature and affix the state seal to all official acts.

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KY: Secretary of State Candidates Square off in Primaries


A Lexington lawyer, a former federal administrator, a rural businessman and a former mayor all vow to make elections more secure, streamline business filings and improve civics education as Kentucky’s next Secretary of State.

They’ll face off in Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primaries, with the winners battling in November to see who will become Kentucky’s next chief elections officer.

The Democratic primary will pit Secretary of State Elaine Walker, the former Bowling Green mayor appointed in January by Gov. Steve Beshear, against politically connected attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes in a race that has divided top Democratic leaders.

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Ohio Secretary of State Proposes Election Changes

Secretary of State Jon Husted is working to make sure Ohio doesn’t become a Florida sized problem in 2012.

From Dayton Daily News:

Husted also warned the panel that unless changes are made, the heavy use of provisional ballots next year in a close presidential election in Ohio could lead to major problems.

“I am concerned that in a close election, what punch cards were to Florida in 2000, provisional ballots will be in Ohio come 2012 if we do not strike the right balance and work together to provide uniformity in the casting and counting process,” Husted said.

He testified on Senate Bill 148, sponsored by Sen. Mark Wagoner, R-Ottawa Hills. It follows Husted’s plan for overhauling the election procedures.

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