Voting barriers – The quagmire of legal and practical uncertainty that currently engulfs voter registration in Kansas has the potential to undermine the integrity of upcoming elections and even the legal validity of those election results. Legislators and the governor maintain that this is Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s problem to solve, but if they choose to stand on the sidelines, they are tacitly approving of this voting debacle. The proposed system to facilitate confirmation of citizenship has broken down. State officials must step in and put the proof-of-citizenship requirement on hold unless or until they can show it can be practically enforced without placing an undue burden on qualified Kansas voters who simply want to register and cast their votes.
Kansas’ efforts to erect barriers to voting with stringent proof-of-citizenship requirements have been rebuffed again, this time by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. And with his typical arrogance, Secretary of State Kris Kobach has brushed off the commission’s ruling as yet another partisan strike against state sovereignty and vowed to continue the legal fight. Paging Kansas legislators. The best way to avert a well-publicized elections debacle is to fix the statute that imposes the onerous documentation requirements. And the sooner the better.
In his State of the State speech, Gov. Sam Brownback mentioned the quest for “world-class education” in Kansas. But during his time in office, he presided over the largest overall cut in public education funding in the state’s history. The governor also talked about “strategic” investments in Kansas universities, even though the recent funding cuts also targeted higher education.
The Rural Opportunity Zone program is such a success that “we now have a housing shortage in many of our rural communities,” Gov. Sam Brownback crowed. As if the decline in rural housing stock is due to a massive influx of new residents. No, governor, the reason we lack adequate housing is because we are not replacing those that fall into disrepair, because of a lack of good jobs in our area, because of a decline in educational opportunities.
Gov. Sam Brownback said Kansas is leading an “American Renaissance,” and that the “path forward is clear”: “We know the way. God wrote it in our hearts.” Proclaiming what the Lord wants Kansans to do on taxes, health care, school finance or any other issue seems presumptuous, at best. As for leading a renaissance, that’s yet to be determined. But given that Brownback had to raise taxes after making his oft-mentioned tax cuts, we’re not encouraged.