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SPOTLIGHT
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Windmill tilting

Published on -8/22/2013, 10:07 AM

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We find ourselves getting tired of pointing out the folly taking place in the Kansas Secretary of State's Office.

Kris Kobach, the elected official in charge, is relentless in his pursuit of providing solutions to non-existent problems -- and Kansas taxpayers pick up the tab. The secretary envisions a Sunflower State without any undocumented immigrants, regardless of the vital role they play in the state economy.

Kobach's paranoia concerning these foreign workers casting votes in state elections reached new heights this week. The states of Kansas and Arizona are suing the federal Elections Assistance Commission in an attempt to force everyone filling out a voter registration form to be required to produce documents proving their citizenship.

"Voting is the most cherished right of a U.S. citizenship," Kobach said. "We take seriously our obligation to protect that right and to secure that right and to guard it close so that only citizens may exercise the right to vote."

Sounds good on its face, right? Kobach said noncitizens have tried to vote numerous times through the years, even citing one instance where an individual voted five times during a single election -- each time illegally.

At the same time, there are approximately 15,000 tax-paying Kansas citizens who cannot vote because of the overly stringent state laws requiring they prove their citizenship. These Kansans registered under the federal guidelines, which have worked just fine for decades throughout the country.

In Kobach's attempt to stop one illegal vote, he's devalued the rights of 15,000 legal voters. It seems not to matter to him.

Also seemingly irrelevant is the potential for this federal lawsuit to be successful.

"I think the state has a very weak position there, because I am not aware of any proof they have that the failure to require proof a citizenship when you register to vote has resulted in any non-citizen voting," said Paul Bender, a constitutional law professor at Arizona State University.

Tax dollars will be used, nonetheless, to pay for Kobach's futile endeavor. Tax dollars that are so scarce, according to the Legislature, there isn't enough to properly pay for K-12 education, universities, mental health, social services and myriad other vital societal obligations.

While we might be tired of beating this same horse, we will continue to do so. Secretary Kobach will not give up his xenophobic fight until the people of Kansas demand it.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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