Kris Kobach addresses voter registration laws issues during KU symposium

by Angie Baldelomar

Kansas voter registration laws aim to reduce election fraud risk to a minimum and encourage people to vote, Secretary of State Kris Kobach said during the keynote discussion of a symposium Thursday night.

Kobach had announced that state officers would now be in charge of prosecuting voting fraud cases, as a part of his anti-fraud actions.

“No state in America has the power to stop you from double-voting before it happens,” he said at the “Protecting the Vote: Dialogue on Citizenship, Elections, and the Franchise” symposium. “There is no live update of who’s voted and at what time. But we can detect it after it occurs.”

When asked about the criticism these laws have received, Kobach said that it is only now that the voter registration process laws issue has become partisan. When laws were enacted in 2011, they passed both chambers with support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Regarding the proof of citizenship requirement to register to vote, Kobach defended his views on citizenship, and the importance of this requisite for voting registration.

“Citizenship is a privilege,” he said. “Voting is the highest, most important right and duty we have as citizens, and I think it’s appropriate to reserve that to people who have become full citizens.”

The audience members gathered in The Commons showed their disagreement with Kobach’s ideas. Several times during the question-and-answer session, especially every time someone asked about controversial points in the voting laws, the audience erupted in applause for the people asking.

Referring to the arguments Kobach made to defend his voting laws, Lawrence resident and audience member Stuart Hale said, “I am not buying it, and I don’t think a lot of people are buying it.”

Likewise, Louise Porth-Louts, another audience member, disagreed with Kobach’s policies and ideas.

“By watching him and listening to him talk, he reminds me of people who see black and white so clearly that they cannot even acknowledge that there is gray,” she said. “His answers were very slick. He can’t see the gray.”

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