Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kobach Debates Law ; Secretary of State, KU Law Professor Clash on Voting Reforms

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kobach Debates Law ; Secretary of State, KU Law Professor Clash on Voting Reforms

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Secretary of State Kris Kobach and a law professor squared off Thursday to contemplate virtue and evil of voter identification laws in Kansas designed to thwart election corruption.

Kobach, a former law professor at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, Mo., matched wits with Mark Johnson, who teaches at the University of Kansas law school. They focused on whether requiring a photograph ID as a condition of casting a ballot was justified to shield integrity of the state's voting system, but both raised issues about a statute making people prove citizenship to register.

The duo sharply disagreed on the question of whether people living in the country illegally would attempt to affect the outcome of political contests by choosing Election Day to step away from an underground existence.

"The alleged phenomenon of noncitizen voting is a complete red herring," Johnson said. "Who is going to show up at the polls to vote knowing they may be caught?"

Kobach, who has frequently noted the danger of people in the country illegally trying to vote, said local voting stations weren't threatening places to the undocumented. Federal Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agents weren't on the prowl for improperly documented residents at voting stations, he said.

"You'd be amazed how many green card holders who want U.S. citizenship are told by someone, 'You should go vote,' " Kobach said.

It was on this point that two sign-wielding protesters stepped into the conversation.

Suezanne Bishop, a third-year law student at KU, said she was disappointed Kobach had consistently "dehumanized undocumented individuals and taken an anti-immigration stance in state and federal forums."

Her signs: "You're the fraud" and "Who would Jesus deport?"

The movement to adopt state mandates related to photo ID and proof of citizenship picked up momentum following the contested 2000 presidential election. It was unclear for five weeks whether Vice President Al Gore or Texas Gov. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.