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Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’

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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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.

KS: AG Applauds Expedited Health Care Appeal


Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Gov. Sam Brownback both say the decision to fast-track an appeal of the federal health care reform law is needed to end uncertainty for businesses and governments trying plan for their financial obligations.

A federal appeals court granted a request Monday by Kansas and 25 other states to expedite its review of a district court decision that the federal health care law is unconstitutional. Oral arguments on the law could be heard as early as this summer.

“It is important to resolve this lawsuit as quickly as possible. States are in the midst of building their budget plans and need to know now whether they should begin preparing for the tremendous financial burden of the federal health care law,” Brownback said. “I am pleased states will not endure years of litigation. A quick resolution by the Court will provide finality for states, businesses, health care providers and citizens, and possibly avoid the implementation of the costly, burdensome and overreaching bill.”

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Kansas Could Join Health Care Lawsuit


As changes imposed by federal health care reform begin to take effect, states are joining together in a federal lawsuit to try to halt implementation.

If Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback and Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt have their way, Kansas will soon be among them.

Brownback and Schmidt campaigned on their promise to join the litigation and call for repeal of the health care law. But the effects of such a lawsuit could be minimal and take a while to materialize in Kansas.

Schmidt’s office did not return phone calls asking for specifics on his intentions.

Sherriene Jones-Sontag, a spokeswoman for Brownback, said the governor-elect would support whatever legal action Schmidt takes.

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KS: GOP leads in Polls and Splits in Fundraising


Polls show Republican candidates leading all four of the statewide races in Kansas, but GOP candidates didn’t take all the prizes when it comes to fundraising.

Campaign finance numbers out Tuesday show Republican Sam Brownback winning the money side of the Governor’s race. The $2.9 million he has raised far outpaces the $648,755 taken in by Democrat Tom Holland. In fact, the total amount Holland raised in only a little more than what Brownback has left for the final week of the campaign. Holland has $74,479 left on hand.

In the Attorney General’s race, Republican Derek Schmidt leads in the polls despite only raising half of what incumbent Democrat Steve Six took in. Of the more than a million dollars Six raised, he has $49,730 left. Schmidt raised $506,116 and has $32,510 on hand.

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KS: Democrat Outspends Republican AG Rival; Still Losing

No matter what he spends, latest poll shows Steve Six is down.


Democratic incumbent Steve Six has spent twice as much money as his Republican challenger for Kansas attorney general, but outside groups appear to be spending more than the candidates to influence the race.

Finance records available Tuesday showed Six had spent more than $1.1 million through Thursday. GOP nominee Derek Schmidt, the Kansas Senate’s majority leader, had spent less than $474,000.

In the governor’s race, GOP nominee and U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, had a large fundraising advantage, as expected, over Democratic candidate and state Sen. Tom Holland. Secretary of State Chris Biggs and State Treasurer Dennis McKinney, both Democrats, have outspent their opponents. Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a Republican, has no opponent in the Nov. 2 election.

Outside donors

The attorney general’s race is notable because of outside groups’ attempts to influence voters. Six spokesman Gavin Young said the Democrat has had to raise more money than Schmidt to counter groups supporting the Republican, including one with commitments for television time approaching $1 million.

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KS: Republicans Dominate in Poll


The pollster said, “In the Attorney General race, Republican Derek Schmidt today edges incumbent Democrat Steve Six 48% to 40%; the Republican’s 8-point lead is the party’s smallest in the 5 races polled, and represents a nominal 1-point tightening from the previous poll, when Schmidt led by 9.”

“Two months ago, when polling began, Schmidt led by 20 points. Six appears to have continued momentum among men,where he has trailed by 24, 19, and now by 7 points, and among voters under age 50, where he has trailed by 36, 25, and now by 10 points. In Northeastern Kansas, Six had trailed by 14 and 10 points, and now ties Schmidt.

“Schmidt has offset these changes with gains of his own among women, older voters,and in other parts of the state. Compared to other, stable Kansas statewide contests, there is notable volatility in the Attorney General race, uniquely; any outcome is possible.”

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KS: Secretary of State Candidates Clash at Debate

From the Wichita Eagle:

A few dozen Kansans were treated to what was perhaps the most exciting secretary of state debate in state history Tuesday night.

The secretary of state’s race seldom attracts much interest in election years. This year, however, is a little different, thanks to the issue of voter fraud.

Republican Kris Kobach and Democratic incumbent Chris Biggs clashed over that, as well as voter identification law and even how they would spend their spare time if elected.

Kobach argued that election fraud poses a significant threat to the state’s voting system. Kobach said hundreds or even thousands of illegal immigrants could be casting ballots and canceling out the votes of Kansas residents.

“I would say that one case of voter fraud is too many in Kansas,” said Kobach, a constitutional law professor on leave from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Kobach previously worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and led the state’s Republican Party.

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KS: Former KBI Director Leads Republican AG Candidate’s Campaign


The former director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation will serve as a co-chairman of the campaign to elect Derek Schmidt attorney general of Kansas.

Larry Welch, who served nearly 13 years as KBI director, today endorsed Schmidt at a news conference in the Statehouse. Welch will serve as one of four statewide co-chairs of Schmidt’s campaign. The other three co-chairs have not yet been announced.

Welch was first appointed KBI director by former Attorney General Bob Stephan, July 1, 1994, and served as KBI director under four attorneys general from 1994 until his retirement June 1, 2007. Previously he served the FBI as special agent and supervisor, 1961-1986, and the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center as associate director and director, 1986-1994.

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