Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – the mastermind behind anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation throughout the country – joined radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday at an event hosted by the anti-immigrant group FAIR, where he currently holds a top legal position.
Kobach has been on a media blitz recently defending Kansas’ strict voter ID law, which requires people registering to vote to present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, a requirement that has left tens of thousands of Kansans with incomplete registrations .
Kaufman, who is based in Florida, told Kobach, “I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands.”
“Yeah, it happens all the time,” Kobach replied, going on to explain that people who die or move out of state often stay on a state’s voter rolls.
Kobach’s conflation of out-of-date voter rolls with fraudulent voting is common among advocates of voter suppression laws. While fraudulent voting is extraordinarily rare – including in Kansas – Kobach has used the threat of such fraud to push faulty voter roll purges in states across the country.
Kobach went on to claim that those who cite the disproportionate effect of voter ID laws on people of color are in fact themselves making a “racist argument.” “You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate?” he asked. “That’s just crazy to make that argument.”
In fact, numerous studies have shown that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority communities and are often passed in response to an increase in minority voting.
Kaufman: I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands in communities like I lived in.
Kobach: Yeah, it happens all the time. There are basically three sources of people on our voter rolls who are not supposed to be there. One is people who die and they stay on the voter rolls. The other is people who have moved out of state, but they’re on the rolls in both states. And the third is aliens, people who were never entitled to vote in the first place. And we’re trying to do something about in Kansas, but you can imagine how the folks on the left complain and say, ‘Well, you can’t do that.’ Well, yeah we can do that and we’re going to do that.
Kaufman: And it’s not bigoted.
Kobach: It’s not at all!
Kaufman: You’re not doing it to close the doors on minorities.
Kobach: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s outrageous the argument some make that it hurts minorities. It’s almost a racist argument! You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate? That’s just crazy to make that argument.