Nation & World

Commentary: Kobach's voter fraud proposal should be dumped

The first substantive action by new Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is to propose a new entitlement that could cost taxpayers millions.

He wants to offer low-income Kansans free driver’s licenses, state IDs and birth certificates to advance his quixotic quest to rid the Sunflower State of the scourge of voter fraud. For years he’s pushed the baseless notion of illegal aliens flooding the state’s polling places.

No one wants voter fraud. But current law seems to be doing an admirable job handling this offense. The state cannot afford to see revenue drop by offering free IDs, which even if available would make it more difficult for lawful voters to exercise their right to vote.

Kobach wants to demand voter ID at every election, and birth certificates to qualify for state ID. Increased paperwork will discourage voting, but neither that nor reason will deter Kobach. He cites 80 recorded cases of voter fraud during a 10-year time span that saw about 10 million ballots cast.

Kobach claims, without evidence, that the number of voter fraud cases he knows about may represent only a tenth of what has transpired improperly. The facts of the 80 cases often show they are hardly nefarious and very, very rarely involve illegal aliens. Most importantly, they are pursued under existing law.

Kobach’s proposal insists that, to eliminate these rare transgressions, Kansas must require photo identification at the polls. To avoid making this requirement an illegal poll tax, he would make those IDs free to any Kansan living at or below 150 percent of the poverty line.

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