Kansas

Brownback To Rally Christian 'Freedom Fighters' To 'Cause A Revolution' And Take Back America

Back when he served in Congress, Sam Brownback had close ties to a variety of fringe Religious Right activists, even living with prayer warrior Lou Engle for several months at one point.

Since becoming Governor of Kansas, Brownback has continued this practice, declaring statewide Days of Restoration and showing up at prayer rallies that were overflowing with modern day prophets and apostles. And the trend continues, as next month Brownback will speak at an Awakening Freedom Tour in Lenexa, Kansas that is designed to encourage right-wing Christians to get involved in the culture wars and "cause a revolution" by mobilizing "freedom fighters" who will "take this country back":

A Kansas-based ministry is hosting a series of events across the state focused on equipping Christian to get involved in a cultural battle.

Entitled the Awakening Freedom Tour, the first gathering will be held on Saturday, February 8, at Lenexa Baptist Church.

Donna Lippoldt, founder and director of Culture Shield Network – which is hosting the event – says the focus is to address the moral decline in the U.S. and confront the effort to remove God from the public dialogue.

Lippoldt, Donna“We need revival, we need a Great Awakening, but it is time to cause a revolution,” she says. “We need to get some freedom fighters up and going to take this country back.”

The inaugural event will feature speakers such as Neil Mammen, Governor Sam Brownback and Donna Lippoldt.

UPDATED: Anti-Immigrant Group Pushes Draconian Nebraska Ordinance

Updated

Activists fighting to keep a draconian anti-immigrant ordinance in a Nebraska town reportedly have called in the big guns: the Nativist group FAIR.

In 2010, voters in Fremont, Nebraska passed an ordinance barring landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants and requiring employers to check new employee’s immigration status. (The employment provision exempted the town’s largest employers, two meatpacking plants just outside of city limits.) Behind the law was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has made a name for himself by peddling anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures to communities across the country.

Last summer, a federal appeals court upheld the law but a city councilmember has introduced a ballot referendum to repeal parts of it. This has angered proponents of the law, who have set up a group called “Our Vote Should Count” and gathered support from the national nativist group FAIR (a former Kobach employer), according to the Fremont Tribune :

Our Vote Should Count enlisted the help of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Tea Party Patriots, True The Vote, and other national organizations, including a Washington, D.C.-based analyst and an Omaha media consultant, to put together a media campaign that will use social media, print media, flyers and canvassing to get out their message.

UPDATE: The Fremont Tribune reported that the group True the Vote was involved in the Fremont initiative. True the Vote tells us that they had no involvement in the measure and are seeking a retraction from the Tribune. We have removed True the Vote from our our story.

UPDATE 2: The Fremont Tribune reports that Our Vote Should Count was in contact with local organizers at FAIR and True the Vote, which may not have come to the attention of the national groups:

“In assembling facts and data,” Von Behren replied in an email to the Tribune, “we met individually with representatives of Tea Party Patriots, True The Vote and (the Federation for American Immigration Reform). Each provided varying levels of support, including data access, technical support, data analysis and general knowledge of the issues from their experience. It's correct that the national office of True The Vote may not have known about local conversations. I would expect the same of (Tea Party Patriots) or FAIR.

“The information provided was all publicly available, but much easier to find with help from someone who works in that area. Neither of the other two organizations raised a concern so we assumed that was the normal function of a local representative,” Von Behren wrote.

Supporters of the Fremont ordinance don’t exactly hide that they are motivated by suspicion of the town’s growing Hispanic population – whether documented or not. One Vote Should count shared this graphic on its Facebook page, which warns that “Fremont is a sanctuary city” because its “Hispanic population TRIPLED! in 10 years”:

In November, Harpers author Ted Genoways visited a town meeting about the ordinance and found racial tensions running high, as one woman railed against “Spanish in my schools” and a Latina resident, a third-generation American, recalled a man screaming at her to “go back to Mexico.”

An Our Vote Should Count spokesman, after warning of the increase in the “non-white population” in local schools, told the Fremont Tribune that the real racists were undocumented immigrants:

Enforcing the ordinance is not about targeting a race, he said.

“There are two levels of racism here. One is a set of racists who will use illegal people for their own profit, and that is being done actively. The other racism is people who knowingly break the law to come here for their own profit,” he said.

 

'You Can't Choose Your Family' But You Can 'Stop Your Family From Destroying America,' Says Obama Cousin & Tea Party Candidate

Milton Wolf is a physician who is challenging Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts from the right in this year’s Republican primary. He is also the second cousin once removed of President Obama.

Wolf has taken full advantage of this family connection, bringing up his relation to the president in frequent Washington Times columns and touting his “Obamacare family feud” on FoxNews.com.

In fact, Wolf’s distant relation to Obama seems to have only encouraged his embrace of Tea Party attacks on the president. In an interview with Tea Party Express yesterday, Wolf offered some words of wisdom: “You can’t choose your family. But you know what you can do? You can choose to rise up and stop your family from destroying America.”

“I think Barack Obama is the worst president in our history and we have got to have the courage to stop him,” he added. 

Wolf went on to boast that he has become the president's "most vocal and fiercest critic”  and is “one of the few people on this planet, I am sure, who have actually stood toe-to-toe with Barack Obama, looked him in the eye, and told him that he’s wrong.”

Wolf also repeated his previous claims that the president improperly targeted him with an IRS audit and attempted to get him fired from his Washington Times gig.

At an event in New Orleans in September, Wolf also played up his “family feud,” saying, “I think I’m everything that’s wrong with Barack Obama’s America. I’ve got a wife, a job and a gun.”

"It's true, Barack Obama and I are cousins. And I would guess because of that you may wonder if I'm the real deal or not. You may have a little concern about me. Let me assure you that I am from a branch of the family that has actually read, understands and believes in the constitution," declared Wolf.

"In fact, I think I'm everything that's wrong with Barack Obama's America. I've got a wife, a job and a gun," he continued, before adding that he has several guns, not just one.

Kobach Still Struggling To Clean Up Kansas Voter Registration Mess

A strict proof-of-citizenship requirement for Kansas voters pushed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach has now suspended the voting rights of over 19,000 Kansans who were unable to provide a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship to election officials, and Kobach continues to struggle to clean up the mess the law has made.

In his latest attempt to fix the problem, Kobach has arranged with another state agency to start checking the names of voters in limbo against birth certificate records to confirm voters’ citizenship.

The problem? The birth certificate search will only find voters born in Kansas, and it may not catch people, such as married women, who have changed their names. The Kansas City Star interviewed Kobach, who explained that he was simply practicing “good government” and providing an “extra service”:

The state’s vital statistics office will compare lists of would-be voters to its records. Kobach’s office would be notified when matches are confirmed. The procedure will be followed in the future as Kansans register to vote.

“This, in my view, is good government,” Kobach said.

But critics were quick to point out that Kobach’s idea could pose constitutional problems because it treats voters born in Kansas differently from voters born elsewhere.

It also raises questions about how women might be treated. Many change their names after getting married and might not be matched with birth records kept by the state.

“That is not actually going to work,” said Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.

Kobach said provisions will be made for women. He said the state health department tracks name changes and those records will be matched against the voting records.

Kobach, however, conceded that prospective voters born in Kansas will benefit more than voters born in another state.

He said there are many examples throughout government where people might have an advantage because of their age, marital status or residence.

“It’s an extra service but it’s not something that would amount to a violation of equal protection of law,” he said.

This is only Kobach’s latest attempt to clean up the mess that his law has created. Along with Arizona, he has sued the federal government to allow Kansas to require proof of citizenship with the federal voter registration form. He has said that if he loses that case he’ll move to set up a two-tiered voting system in the state in which those who register with the federal form without additional proof of citizenship are barred from voting in state elections.

Kobach Uncovers Massive Voter Fraud…In 1855

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has  been getting absolutely creamed by the state press for his proposal to create a two-tiered voting system if his lawsuit against the federal government to make voter registration more difficult fails.

Now, he’s fighting back.

In an op-ed published on the website of KSAL this week, Kobach claims that his efforts to require a “proof of citizenship” document to register to vote – which has put the registration of 17,000 Kansans into limbo and instigated the two-tier plan —is necessary because of “rampant voter fraud”… in Kansas’ first territorial election in 1855.

The integrity of elections has been a crucial concern of Kansans since the birth of our state. More than any other state, Kansas was born in an atmosphere of rampant voter fraud. Our first territorial legislative election saw 4,908 fraudulent votes cast (mostly by Missourians). In the ensuing years, many Kansans put themselves at great risk in order to safeguard the integrity of elections.

Recognizing the need to protect the fairness of elections, the Kansas (Wyandotte) Constitution, adopted in 1859, provided that every Kansas voter must be a United States citizen to cast a legal ballot. The Kansas Constitution also states that the Kansas legislature shall provide for “proper proofs,” or evidence, of the right to vote. It was that authority that the Kansas Legislature exercised during the 2011 legislative session, when it enacted the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, which I drafted.

In 1855, about 5,000 pro-slavery Missourians, known as “border ruffians,” streamed over the border to Kansas in a successful effort to elect a pro-slavery legislature (abolitionists had previously organized thousands of northerners to settle the new territory in an attempt to make it a free state). These border ruffians were involved in all sorts of mischief, including violence, intimidation and literal ballot-box stuffing, beginning a bloody pre-Civil War conflict.  This is an interesting history lesson, but not exactly relevant to today’s elections.

But it wasn’t just an anomalous period in the nineteenth century that saw voter fraud, Kobach says. He disputes an editorial that contends that he has found “only a handful of voter fraud cases,” saying that in fact he presented 221 fraud cases to the state legislature in 2011.

First, the editorial board claimed that “when Kobach originally proposed the state’s voter ID law,” “[t]here were only a handful of voter fraud cases.” That is false. The number of cases of voter fraud presented to the Legislature in 2011 was 221. That’s many more than a handful – and those are only the cases that we know about. The actual number is likely much higher.

The forms of voter fraud included everything from voting in the same election in two different states, to fraudulently requesting another person’s mail-in ballot, to impersonating another voter at the polls, to fraudulently voting an elderly person’s ballot at a nursing home and forging the person’s signature. These are serious criminal acts that threaten the integrity of our elections.

In fact, that collection of 221 cases of alleged voter fraud took place over a period of thirteen years, averaging 17 cases a year. When the Wichita Eagle looked into the cases Kobach had listed, they found that many did not amount to voter fraud at all. In one case, Kobach claimed that a dead man had voted; the man, very much alive, disputed that fact. The paper found that other cases Kobach counted were “honest mistakes” with no intent to defraud.

Ultimately, only seven of the 211 cases resulted in convictions

Meanwhile, Kobach’s plan to prevent the epidemic of seven cases of voter fraud over 13 years has suspended the voting rights of 17,000 people and now may result in a bureaucratic nightmare in which some Kansans are allowed to vote only in federal elections and some are still not allowed to vote at all.

But Kobach claims that in proposing a two-tiered voting system to “fix” the mess that his proof of citizenship requirement has made, he is actually “doing the opposite.”

Kobach claims that it is actually the courts that are at fault for Kansas' voting system crisis because they have required states to accept the federal "motor voter" registration form, which requires voters to affirm their citizenship under penalty of perjury but doesn't require extra documentation. Confident he’ll win his lawsuit to add extra restrictions to the federal form in Kansas and Arizona, he insists that he is actually trying “to avoid having two categories of voters.”

In fact I am doing the opposite. Under my leadership, Kansas and Arizona have joined forces to sue the federal government’s Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to change the federal mail voter registration form so that proof of citizenship can be requested from those Kansans who use the form, as Kansas law requires. We are suing in order to avoid the two-categories-of-voters-plan that the editorial board criticizes.

The suit is necessary because, this past summer, the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council said that states must “accept and use” the federal mail voter registration form to register voters for federal elections. As it is currently written, the federal form for Kansas doesn’t require proof of citizenship. (The state form, which more than 99% of voters use, does require proof of citizenship.)

The way to avoid having two categories of voters is for Kansas and Arizona to bring such a lawsuit and win. The good news is that the Supreme Court specifically suggested this lawsuit in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council. So there is a very high probability that we will win.
 

Kobach Moving Forward With Plan to Create Two Classes of Voters in Kansas

Back in August, we reported that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was considering a novel voter suppression idea. Kobach has been struggling to implement a new law that he backed requiring voters to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote. As a result of the law, over 17,000 Kansans who registered to vote using a federal form (which doesn’t require proof of citizenship) or used a state form but couldn’t dig up a birth certificate have had their voter registration suspended.

Kobach said that this mass disenfranchisement wasn't a “major problem,” but he did have a proposal to deal with it: Create two classes of voters, some who are allowed to vote only in federal elections and others who are allowed to vote in both state and federal elections.

Now, the Wichita Eagle reports, Kobach is moving ahead with his plan. The Eagle obtained a July 31 memo from Kobach’s office to county elections officials instructing them to track which voter registration applicants apply using a federal form and which submit an acceptable proof of citizenship.

The Eagle explains that if the plan moves forward, Kansas voters will be sorted into three categories, each with separate voting rights. Those who provide proof of citizenship with either a state or federal form will be allowed to vote in all elections. Those who register with a federal form and don't provide supplemental citizenship proof will be allowed to vote just in federal elections. Meanwhile, Kansans who use the state voter registration form but don’t provide proof of citizenship will remain unable to vote at all. 

Kobach claims that this byzantine scheme is just a “contingency plan” in case he fails in suing the federal government to add extra requirements to federal voter registration forms used in Kansas.

Kobach… confirmed he’s planning for elections with different ballots for different voters, depending on whether they register under federal or state rules. He said it’s “merely a contingency plan” in case he loses a lawsuit seeking to make federal officials adopt Kansas rules for voters in Kansas.

The plan creates three classes of registered voters, according to the Legislative Research report provided to Ward on Thursday:

  • Voters using either the federal or Kansas form and providing state-required documents proving their citizenship would be able to vote in all federal, state and local elections.
  • Voters who use the federal form but don’t provide citizenship documents will be allowed to vote only for candidates running for president, vice president and Congress.
  • Registrants who file a Kansas form but don’t provide citizenship documents will be put in suspension and won’t be allowed to vote in any election.

Unsurprisingly, this plan is already causing a headache among county elections officials, reports the Eagle:

Sherman County Clerk Janet Rumpel...said she has asked the Secretary of State’s Office for clarification on whether she would have to prepare two sets of ballots for primary and general elections every two years on the chance somebody files a federal registration form – which she has never actually seen.

“It would be a nightmare for us,” she said.

But, as usual, Kobach seems unfazed.

The Eagle reports that “sidewalk and door-to-door registration drives ground to a halt” when the proof-of-citizenship requirement came into effect, “because of the impracticality of getting the needed documents to complete the process.” Democratic state representative Jim Ward recounted a discussion he had with Kobach about the difficulty of holding voter registration drives under the new law. Kobach reportedly replied that people holding voter registration drives should just “carry a copy machine" with them:

Ward said it’s Kobach who’s doing voters a disservice by demanding documents that most people don’t have close at hand and that Congress and the Supreme Court says they don’t have to provide.

He said he once asked Kobach how to collect the documents in a registration drive and Kobach’s response was “carry a copy machine with you.”

“It was a snarky response, but I think it tells you his attitude toward the right to vote,” Ward said.
 

COPE: Teaching Science Violates Rights Of Christians; Courts Must Block Science Curriculum

Last week, we reported that an organization called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a lawsuit contesting science standards in Kansas schools, arguing that lessons on evolution represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, told conservative talk radio host Janet Mefferd today that lessons on evolution are “religious education” in violation of the rights of parents, children and taxpayers. Mefferd replied that it is “crazy” to think that public schools could teach evolution to Christian students.

The religious rights that are being promoted here are the religious rights of parents to direct the religious education of their children and a state interferes with that when it seeks to promote an atheistic worldview. The second right is the child’s right, the child has a right not to be indoctrinated by the state to accept a particular religious viewpoint, that right is being taken by the framework. The last right is the taxpayer has a right, you know I pay taxes to Kansas, real estate taxes, a good part of my real estate taxes go to fund Kansas public education and I don’t want the taxes used to promote a nontheistic worldview.

“This really is a case about the establishment of a complete worldview,” Calvert said, arguing that public schools violate the Constitution by teaching “materialistic science” and therefore courts should block the curriculum and instruction on evolution.

“We’ve asked the court to enjoin the whole package, they just need to go back to the drawing board,” Calvert told Mefferd. “In the alternative, if the court is not willing to do that, the court should at least enjoin the teaching of origin science in the primary school grades from kindergarten through the 8th grade.”

Calvert and Mefferd claimed it is only fair to teach creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. Otherwise, Calvert claimed, schools would be teaching atheism.

“It’s clear that there are lots and lots of people who hold to the biblical account of creation or at the very least a view of intelligent design, share it as a perspective, evolution is not the only perspective out there,” Mefferd said.

Well, there are also “lots and lots of people” who believe that the sun revolves around the earth (one out of five Americans), so is it really settled science that the earth revolves around the sun and schools should teach both points of view?

Must schools also incorporate the claims that the earth is flat into lessons regarding the shape of the earth?

After all, we must keep the curriculum balanced and respect flat-earth proponents who think religion and science back up their beliefs.

American Family Association Takes Aim at Public Art in Kansas

The American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, the state-level chapter of the national AFA led by the husband and wife team Phillip and Cathy Cosby, lists as its number one priority: “Promoting sexual integrity and confronting the pornification of our culture in all venues, secular and sacred.”

As part of this mission, the Cosbys have taken it upon themselves to wage a years-long campaign to remove one statue owned and publicly displayed by the city of Overland Park, Kansas – a campaign that has included multiple public petitions and a change in state law, and has forced the city of Overland Park to rack up $35,000 in legal fees.

Now, the Cosbys are starting the process all over again, hoping to force the city to once again pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend its right to display the art in its collection.

The statue in question, called “Accept or Reject,” was given to the city in 2011 by a Chinese artist as part of a cultural exchange and is currently on display in the town’s arboretum. I’ll let Phil Cosby describe it: "It is a nine-foot-tall bronze statue of a totally nude woman. Her arm is extended, and she's taking a picture of herself, in essence sexting herself."

Here’s a picture of Phillip Cosby with the sculpture in question (the signage is his):

Cosby contends that “Accept or Reject” is not only “toxic,” but that it violates Kansas’ anti-obscenity statute and should therefore be removed from the public park.

Last year, Cosby used a novel tactic to try to get the statue removed. Kansas is one of six states that allows for “citizens grand juries” – grand juries called by a petition of citizens rather than a prosecutor. The 1887 Kansas law has been revived in the last several years by right-wing activists to go after abortion providers and pornography.” In 2006 and again in 2008, anti-choice activists gathered enough signatures to launch a grand jury investigation of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller. Tiller’s attorney described the process as “a perfect example of a system which has virtually become active vigilantism.” The year after the second investigation, Tiller was assassinated by an anti-choice extremist.

In the mid-2000s, Cosby used the law to launch grand jury investigations into 20 adult bookstores and a handful of strip clubs, which he claimed violated obscenity laws.

So last year, Cosby returned to the “citizens grand jury plan, gathering enough signatures on a petition to convene a grand jury to investigate whether “Accept or Reject” was criminally obscene. The grand jury dismissed the case within a day, but that didn’t stop Cosby’s crusade. Instead, he contended that the jury dismissed the case because prosecutors didn’t pursue it with adequate zeal.

Earlier this year, Cosby worked with anti-abortion groups, with the support of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, to change the citizen grand jury law to give more power to people who file the grand jury petitions, including letting the petition filer himself open the proceedings in the grand jury and let anybody who wants to apply to testify.

With the rules changed, Cosby’s now trying again to gather enough signatures to bring the sculpture before a new citizen grand jury, hoping that the new rules will produce a different outcome.

Cosby’s crusade is far from universally popular. Last year, Overland Park spent $35,000 defending the statue. And as the Kansas City Star’s editorial board pointed out last week, it’s far from the only nude sculpture publicly displayed in the area.

But Cosby claims that if allowed to call his own witnesses before a grand jury, he can present “a solid case on the harms to minors.” As part of his case, he’s been circulating this audio recording of a boy reacting to the sculpture with a  loud “Whoa!” and claiming that “a city agency putting in front of children an act, that if they mimicked, would be the illegal manufacture of child porn by children”

Cosby must gather about 4,000 signatures to convene the grand jury.
 

Kobach’s Latest Plan to Keep 15,000 Kansans From Voting: Sue the Federal Government

Kansas secretary of state and national voter suppression advocate Kris Kobach has been struggling in recent months to implement a new “proof of citizenship” voter registration requirement that he pushed into law. But now he has a new plan: sue the federal government to make it harder to register to vote with a federal form in his state.

Like a similar Arizona law that was recently struck down by the Supreme Court, Kansas’ law requires those registering to vote to produce documented proof of citizenship beyond the sworn oath required on federal voter registration forms. This has produced an administrative nightmare in Kansas, throwing the voting status of at least 15,000 people who registered with the federal form into limbo.

Kobach’s first plan to fix this was to force the thousands of Kansans who had registered with the federal form to cast provisional ballots in the next election, which would then only count if they showed up later at an elections office armed with a birth certificate or other citizenship document. The state board of elections rejected the plan, which one Republican state senator called “disingenuous at best.”

Kobach then got creative, suggesting that Kansas create two classes of voters, with those who register with the federal form only allowed to vote in federal elections. Voting rights advocates balked.

Now, Kobach has a new plan. Along with Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Kobach is suing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to require the federal government to add extra “proof of citizenship” requirements to federal voter registration forms in the two states. Andy Marso at the Topeka Capital-Journal sums up the scheme:

Facing the possibility of legal action over 15,000-plus suspended voter registrations, Secretary of State Kris Kobach struck back by announcing Wednesday his own suit against a federal election commission.

Kobach said at a news conference that he and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, both Republicans, have filed a complaint against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission asking that federal voter registration forms issued to residents of their states include state-specific proof of citizenship requirements like the ones on state forms largely responsible for putting thousands of Kansas registrations on hold.

Kobach said the court case is "the first of its kind."

Kansas voters will be best served when the EAC amends the Kansas-specific instructions on the Federal Form to include submitting concrete evidence of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote," Kobach said.

Kobach said the lawsuit would partially preempt a suit being prepared but he American Civil Liberties Union over the suspended registrations.

“It does block many of the arguments the ACLU might wish to raise,” Kobach said.

Kobach explains that he is answering the “invitation” that Justice Antonin Scalia left in his opinion in the Arizona case, in which the justice suggested that Arizona try such a move.

Kobach and the ACLU have disagreed on much when it comes to voting laws, but both he and Bonney said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., invited a lawsuit.

"This lawsuit is pursuant to Scalia's invitation," Kobach said.

Kris Kobach's Bold New Plan to Keep People From Voting

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has become a national figure by advising other states on how to implement anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures, has come up with a new creative way to make it harder for Kansans to vote: barring those who register to vote with a federal form from casting ballots in state elections.

Back in June, the Supreme Court struck down an Arizona elections law that required those registering to vote to show proof of citizenship beyond what is required by federal voter registration forms. In Kansas, Kobach has been struggling to deal with the implementation of a similar proof-of-citizenship law, which has left the voting status of at least 12,000 Kansans in limbo.

These voters, many of whom registered with the federal “motor voter” form at the DMV, were supposed to have their citizenship information automatically updated, a process that was delayed by a computer glitch. Kobach then suggested that these 12,000 voters be forced to cast provisional ballots – a suggestion that the state elections board rejected.

Now, the Lawrence Journal-World reports, Kobach has a new idea to deal with the problem that he created. The paper reports that Kobach is considering a plan to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision in the Arizona case by creating two classes of voters. Under this plan, those who register with a federal form would be allowed to vote only in federal elections until they produced the state-required citizenship documents. Those who meet the state registration requirements would then be allowed to vote in state-level elections.

In Kansas, a new state law requires proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Kobach, a Republican who pushed for that law, said he is considering a proposed rule change that would allow those who use the federal form to register to vote to be allowed to vote in federal elections, such as presidential and congressional contests. The federal voter registration form does not require proof of citizenship documents, but includes a signed sworn statement that the individual is a U.S. citizen.

But those people would not be allowed to vote in state elections, such as contests for governor, other statewide offices and the Legislature.

Those who register to vote by providing proof of citizenship will be able to vote in both federal and state elections under the proposal.

Voting rights advocates in the state are understandably skeptical:

Dolores Furtado, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, said she would strongly oppose such a plan.

"It won't work," Furtado said. "When we can't handle registrations, the process of applications and processing registrations, how are we going to separate ballots?" she said. "This is creating a problem. Whenever we make things complex, people shun away."

When the elections board rejected his provisional ballots plan, Kobach was taken aback, saying that those who register to vote with the motor voter form aren’t likely to vote anyway, so disenfranchising 12,000 of them wasn’t “a major problem.” That seems to be his justification for the two classes of voter plan as well.  According to the World-Journal, “Kobach said few Kansans register to vote using the federal form, so it shouldn't affect too many voters.”
 

Kris Kobach Thinks Disenfranchising 12,000 Voters Isn't a 'Major Problem'

A state elections board has prevented Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from forcing the status of 12,000 voters into limbo, but he doesn’t get what the big deal is.

Kobach hit a speed bump this week in his effort to implement a new voter ID measure that requires voters to produce proof of citizenship when they register to vote. As Think Progress reported yesterday, a computer system delay has caused the voting status of 12,000 Kansans, most of whom registered while doing business at the DMV under the “motor voter” law, to go into limbo.

To “fix” this problem, Kobach suggested that the 12,000 voters effected by the computer glitch be forced to cast provisional ballots in the next election. If they wanted those ballots to count, they would have to later go to local election officials armed with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.

The state elections board rejected Kobach’s solution. As Republican state senator Vick Schmidt said, “I don’t believe a large percentage of the population knows what casting a provisional ballot means. They believe it is going to count. Sadly for these 12,000-plus individuals, it will not count unless they take further action, and I think that is disingenuous at best.”

But Kobach told the Wichita Eagle that disenfranchising those 12,000 people wouldn’t be a “major problem” because they represent a “tiny percentage” of Kansas’ voters and probably don’t really want to vote anyway:

Kobach said his proposal would have given voters, particularly those who could participate in upcoming special elections this fall, an extra week to prove their citizenship. But he said those who remain in suspense probably only registered after being asked by clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles and aren’t likely to be very active voters.

“I don’t think it’s a major problem,” he said. “This is a pretty tiny percentage of 1.8 million voters. It’s a small number of people. We’ll see as the coming elections unfold how many actually come out to vote.”

To put this in perspective, Kobach’s justification for pushing the voter ID law in the first place was what he alleged were 221 incidents of illegal voting in Kansas over the period of 13 years, only seven of which resulted in convictions.

So, Kobach thinks seven confirmed cases of voter fraud over 13 years requires upending the state’s entire voting system. But that overhaul resulting in 12,000 voters in one election forced to cast ballots that might not count affects “a small number of people” and is not a “major problem.”

Kobach: Immigration Advocates Like the KKK, 'Just Not Wearing White Cloaks'

Yesterday, Glenn Beck accused the immigration reform advocates who held a peaceful protest outside the home of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach of practicing “domestic terrorism” just like the Ku Klux Klan. Today, Kobach himself appeared on Beck’s radio show and agreed with this assessment. “They’re just not wearing white cloaks, but this is exactly KKK type of intimidation,” the Kobach said.

“The left is set up on revenge,” Beck responded, “and so they’re using the tactics of those who kept them down in the past that we all tried to defeat…So they’re just changing their hood or changing their language, but it is not changing who they really are or what they’re trying to do.”

Beck also compared the demonstrators to Greece’s Golden Dawn party, a neo-Nazi group with ties to anti-immigrant hate crimes.

Kobach previously threatened to use violence against the “mob” of protesters.

Beck: Immigration Reform Advocates Practicing KKK-Style 'Domestic Terrorism'

Whatever you think of the decision by Kansas immigration reform advocates to hold a peaceful protest outside of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s house this weekend, you could probably agree that there is a significant difference between the protesters – pictured here – and the Ku Klux Klan.

But not if you’re Glenn Beck. Beck was scheduled to interview Kobach on his program yesterday, but Kobach had to drop off the call due to technical difficulties. So Beck winged it, showing a video of the protest and asking, “What’s the difference between that and the Klan coming to Martin Luther King’s house?”

“This is not just domestic terrorism, this is civil rights stuff,” he added. “This isn’t America. This is old-style South kind of tactics.”

Responding to the protest yesterday, Kobach said the “mob” at his house is the “reason we have the Second Amendment” and worried that the protesters could have tried to break in.

UPDATE: Beck finally got on the phone with Kobach, who agreed with him about the demonstrators: “They’re just not wearing white cloaks, but this is exactly KKK type of intimidation."

Kobach Tells 'Mob' that Protested at His House: 'There's a Reason We Have a 2nd Amendment'

Yesterday, a group of about 100 supporters of comprehensive immigration reform staged a protest at the house of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been a driving force behind anti-immigrant laws around the country. By all accounts, the protest was peaceful: a short video of the event shows protesters carefully staying off the grass as they repeat the chants of a man with a bullhorn.

But Kobach, who was not at home at the time, tells Fox News' Todd Starnes, “I shudder to think what would have happened if one of those members of the mob had tried to break into the house.”

He added that he would have considered using a firearm against the protestors: “It’s important we recognize there’s a reason we have the Second Amendment. There are situations like this where you have a mob and you do need to be able to protect yourself.”

Starnes reports that Kobach told him  “a large number of the protesters were believed to be illegal aliens."

“I was just appalled,” Kobach told Fox News. “They have a right to protect at my office or at public places – that’s fine. But they don’t have a right to enter someone’s private property and engage in this kind of intimidation.”

“I have four little girls and they would have been terrified to see 200 protesters shouting at their daddy on megaphones on the front lawn,” he said.

The secretary of state said a large number of the protesters were believed to be illegal aliens. They can be seen on video chanting in Spanish, standing on Kobach’s porch, front yard and driveway and demanding that he come outside.


Kobach said he was especially troubled to learn that it took police at least 15 minutes to respond to his house.

“You have a mob of 200 people gathering on someone’s property and it takes the police 15 minutes to get there,” he said. “That doesn’t give you a whole lot of confidence either. I shudder to think what would have happened if one of those members of the mob had tried to break into the house.”

He also feared what would have happened had he been home with his wife and four young daughters.

“On a typical Saturday, my four girls would have been riding their bikes and coloring chalk in the driveway,” he said. “That’s where they play. If four buses pulled up and the mob started marching down upon them, they would have been absolutely terrified.”

The secretary of state is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment – and he said the incident at his home is an example of why Americans should bear arms.

“If we had been in the home and not been armed, I would have felt very afraid – because it took the police 15 minutes to show up,” he said. “It’s important we recognize there’s a reason we have the Second Amendment. There are situations like this where you have a mob and you do need to be able to protect yourself.”

He said had they been home and the mob had gotten out of hand, his family would have been in “grave jeopardy.”

“The Second Amendment is the private property owner’s last resort,” he said.

Kobach said he’s asked local police and the county attorney to investigate the incident. He believes a number of laws were violated including terrorizing a public official.
 

Kansas' Kobach Pushes Plan that Would Disenfranchise Alaska Natives

Back in April, two Alaska House committees approved a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls – a particularly damaging measure in a state where many rural communities don’t even require photos on drivers’ licenses. Now, the Anchorage Daily News is reporting that there is a familiar face behind the measure. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the driving force behind voter suppression and anti-immigrant measures around the country, reportedly coordinated with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell to push the bill in what looks like an effort to damage Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in his 2014 reelection bid. (Treadwell denies that he worked with Kobach on the bill, which he says he opposes.)

Alaska Natives say a photo ID rule would be a roadblock to voting in the Bush. A decline in turnout there, with its traditionally heavy Democratic vote, could affect the 2014 reelection hopes of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat running in a Republican-leaning state. One of his potential rivals is Alaska's top election official, Republican Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

Treadwell says he doesn't support the voter ID bill, but Kobach says Treadwell was instrumental in getting him involved in promoting the Alaska legislation.

In an April statement to reporters that didn't mention Kobach or Kansas, Treadwell touted the cross-checking as having found 14 people suspected of "actually voting in both Alaska and another state" in 2012. Treadwell threatened to prosecute the voters if the allegations were confirmed.

Alaska elections director Gail Fenumiai recently said 12 of the 14 voters cited in Treadwell's April statement were wrongly identified as duplicate voters and actually voted only in Alaska.



Kobach told the Daily News it was he who suggested to Treadwell that Alaska get involved in the Kansas project. "I personally talked to Mead Treadwell, your lieutenant governor, and encouraged him to join, and he did so," Kobach said.

And his testimony on the photo ID bill, Kobach said, was the result of a conversation with Treadwell.

"I spoke to Mead about it at one of our national conferences -- he mentioned that you guys were considering a photo ID law," Kobach said. "I said I'd be happy to share some of the experiences we've had in Kansas."

Treadwell, who said he doesn't support the Alaska bill because of the difficulty for Bush residents to get photo identification, said he didn't recall talking to Kobach about it.

As the Daily News explains, a photo ID bill would be especially damaging to Alaska Natives living in rural communities where DMVs are hard to access and where many towns don’t even require photographs on drivers’ licenses:

Photo ID measures are controversial across the country. Advocates say they help prevent fraud. Opponents say they make it more difficult for particular groups of people to vote: the elderly, students and the poor who don't own cars. In Alaska, the situation is compounded by the difficulty of getting to a Division of Motor Vehicles office in a regional hub like Nome or Bethel from a small village. Alaska doesn't even require a photograph on a driver's license in dozens of Bush communities.

Democratic activists say photo ID bills have the effect of disenfranchising more Democratic voters than Republicans. In his annual address to the Alaska Legislature this year, Begich criticized the bill as making it more difficult for Alaska Natives and Hispanics -- two traditional Democratic groups -- to vote.

The sponsor of Alaska’s bill, who has acknowledged that he drafted the measure using materials from the corporate-funded conservative group ALEC, had odd words of consolation for those concerned about the suppressive impact of the bill: at least it wouldn’t be as bad as Iraq!

Rep. Bob Lynn, an Anchorage Republican who is prime sponsor of the voter ID bill, said he wasn't trying to disenfranchise anyone. He dismissed opponents as complainers who should be happy they don't face the kind of obstacles voters do in places like Iraq.

"Terrorists have threatened to kill anyone who voted, but they voted anyway, and then these voters put ink in their finger to prove they had voted -- evidence that could have gotten them killed. Now that's a hassle, to say the least. Needing a photo ID to vote in Alaska wouldn't even come close to that," Lynn said when his State Affairs Committee first heard the bill in February.
 

Kobach Seeks to Expand Own Power Over 'Election Fraud' Cases

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the driving force behind draconian anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama and a rising national figure on the Right, is close to a major victory on one of his other pet projects – gaining attention for the mythical problem of “election fraud.”

Kansas’ legislature is poised to grant Kobach’s office the power to prosecute election fraud cases that it identifies, a responsibility previously reserved for county and federal prosecutors. Kobach claims that prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office are neglecting these cases because of “a very full plate.”

But a look at even a few of the cases Kobach claims that prosecutors are neglecting tells a very different story. In February, Kobach told The Topeka Capital-Journal that he had referred eleven “slam dunk” cases to prosecutors, none of which had ended in convictions. But one of the prosecutors responsible for following up on those cases found that most were isolated incidents involving people who were just confused about the voting laws:

Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe took exception to some of Kobach's characterizations in his testimony on behalf of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association. Howe said Kobach's bird’s-eye view of widespread voter fraud crumbles when investigated by those on the ground.

For instance, Howe said one double-voter his office investigated was an elderly man showing "the early stages of dementia." Howe's office notified the man's family rather than prosecute him.

Another alleged double voter was a developmentally disabled man.

“Are we supposed to prosecute that case?" Howe asked. "I chose not to.”

This fits with the pattern. In 2011, Kobach claimed that there had been 221 incidents of voter fraud in Kansas between 1997 and 2010. Yet just seven of these resulted in convictions.

Kobach now claims that he has identified at least 30 cases of illegal double voting in the 2012 election by finding people with the same name and birthdate who voted in two separate states. Such matching tactics have in the past have resulted not in legitimate voter fraud convictions, but in embarrassing errors and mass wrongful disenfranchisement.

Kobach’s issue with the state’s prosecutors seems to be not that they haven’t properly investigated voter fraud – but that they have failed to promote the conspiracy theory about widespread voter fraud that, when it becomes popular, benefits people like Kris Kobach and the policies they pursue.
 

Brownback Declares Saturday to be a 'Day of Restoration'

In August of last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry organized and hosted a large public prayer rally featuring a host of Religious Right activists along with various self-proclaimed "prophets" of the New Apostolic Reformation.  For the most part, other elected leaders stayed away from the event, with the notable exception of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who spoke and delivered a prayer from the stage.

It was no surprise that Brownback would have no qualms about sharing the stage with these sorts of modern-day prophets, as he had a long history of working closely them and speaking at their events back when he was serving in the US Senate and even lived with Lou Engle for several months. In fact, Brownback's close ties to Engle became a bit of an issue when he was running for Governor in 2010.

And just as it was no surprise that Brownback would appear at "The Response," it is also not surprising that he has now publicly endorsed a similar prayer event that is taking place in Topeka, Kansas this weekend called Reign Down, organized by a group that began "in July of 2005, [when] God woke up a 31-year old stay-at-home mom to give her a vision" of then-President George W. Bush "repenting on behalf of the nation, culminating in a movement of God's hand across America to bring healing, restoration and unprecedented unity and prosperity."

When Reign Down organized a prayer event on the National Mall in 2008, severe thunderstorms threatened to cancel it ... until their prayers held them off: 

Leading up to the four-hour event, a massive storm with life-threatening tornadoes, heavy rain and winds, and lightning was heading straight towards the gathering at the National Mall in D.C. The National Park Service issued one warning, saying that after three warnings—or the first bolt of lightning—they were going to pull the plug and the event would not happen. Realizing it was beyond their control, with less than an hour until the event was to start, ReignDown USA's leaders and intercessors knelt behind the stage and cried out for God to divert the storm to the North and the South. They called upon the power of the Holy Spirit for the winds to shift from the West to the East and blow the storm away. As they cried out on their knees and begged God to move…He did! The wind shifted! The Park Service, watching the weather radar, said that somehow the storm cell was shifting its course and heading to the North.

And this weekend, Reign Down - which has partnerships with groups and leaders like Lou Engle, The Call, Cindy Jacobs, GodTV, the Congressional Prayer Caucus, and Rep. Trent Franks - will host a prayer rally in Kansas that will be simulcast across the country, and Gov. Brownback has not only filmed a video announcing his participation and support but issued a proclamation calling on citizens to "collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God and ask for His mercy on us" and declaring Saturday to be a "day of restoration":

TO THE PEOPLE OF KANSAS, GREETINGS:

WHEREAS, the State of Kansas will host the national simulcast of REIGNDOWN USA in Topeka on December 8, 2012, bringing thousands here from across the country; and

WHEREAS, people from across America will join the millions from around the world on TV simulcast live from MacLennan Park, in the heart of America; and

WHEREAS, the first REIGNDOWN celebration was held 2008 in Washington DC, on the Capitol Grounds, introduced by proclamation of the President of the United States of America, with millions participating on site, on TV, and by computer; and

WHEREAS, regional REIGNDOWN events continued until the need was seen for the gathering to be held in the heart of our Nation; and

WHEREAS, many of our families have slid into poverty, endangering out next generation of citizens, our lands are parched by drought, our quality jobs are scarce, business and industry are struggling to expand, and many of our people have fallen into despair; and

WHEREAS, our Nation’s greatest leaders have called on a merciful God for favor during troubled times, such as:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.” - Abraham Lincoln, 1863.

“The propitious [favorable] smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” - George Washington, 1789.

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” - Thomas Jefferson, 1787; and

WHEREAS, we collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God and ask for His mercy on us:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sam Brownback, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF KANSAS, do hereby proclaim December 8th 2012, as a

Day of Restoration

in Kansas and ask every citizen of our state to join in asking a Holy God to bring healing and restoration – help in mending broken lives, bringing peace to our families, our communities, and this land.

DONE: At the Capitol in Topeka
under the Great Seal of the
State this 23rd day of
November, A.D. 2012

BY THE GOVERNOR: Samuel Brownback

The Right to Vote Under Attack, 2012 Update

Here we detail, as of October 6, 2012, except where otherwise noted, the latest efforts across the country to suppress the vote, as well as some encouraging successes in expanding the franchise.

Birthers at Kansas State Board Could Keep Obama Off the Ballot

Top Republican officials in Kansas are considering removing President Obama from the ballot at the request of “birther” activists who believe that the president wasn’t born in the United States. Kansas’ Board of Objections, which includes Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt andLt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, haven’t made any decisions yet but they say they’re taking the challenge seriously.

This isn’t Kobach’s first brush with birtherism. It’s also not his first brush with extremism that targets people of color. Kobach, who once worked for the nativist anti-immigrant group FAIR, has been a leader in pushing extreme anti-immigrant laws throughout the country, including draconian measures in Arizona and Alabama.

Kobach is also an informal advisor to Mitt Romney.

TPM reports:

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November.

Kobach is part of the State Objections Board along with Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all Republicans. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that on Thursday the board agreed consider whether to take Obama off the ballot because they said they lacked sufficient evidence about his birth certificate.

“I don’t think it’s a frivolous objection,” Kobach said, according to the Capital-Journal. “I do think the factual record could be supplemented.”

The board is looking at a complaint filed by Joe Montgomery, of Manhattan, Kan., who claimed the Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen and so is ineligible to be president. The man appears to be part of a group of conspiracy theorists known as “birthers,” who deny Obama’s birth certificate is real.

PFAW

Kansas AFA Chapter Seeks to Have City Leaders Indicted over Nude Statue

In November of last year, the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Overland Park, Kansas installed "11 life-size bronze sculptures that were created and donated to the arboretum by Chinese sculptors," among which was one of a "disjointed body of a young, bare-breasted woman, one thin arm extended to snap a photo of herself":

Some local residents were so outraged by the statue that they sought, without success, to have it removed.  So eventually the local chapter of the American Family Association stepped in, claiming that the statue encourages “sexting” and violates obscenity standards, and gathered some 4,700 signatures which have now been delivered to the county clerk in order to have city officials indicted by a grand jury:

Phillip Cosby regional head of the American Family Association delivered 4700 signatures to the county clerks office. He wants the artwork gone, and thinks Overland Park City officials could be indicted on obscenity charges.

"There's more in the message here with the presence of the camera, the obvious come hither posture and the aroused breasts and all the sexual components. The statue is sending a message to children," says Cosby.

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