After a recent candidate debate at the Wichita Pachyderm Club, I asked Secretary of State Kris Kobach why it is that when it comes to the Second Amendment he does not want any restrictions, even though there have been hundreds of thousands of gun violations and deaths by guns, but that when it comes to voting rights, in which there have been very few cases of fraud, he wants more restrictions.
Kobach changed the subject by asking me if I had read Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in a District of Columbia case. Scalia wrote about how important gun rights were for blacks and others down through history. I thought it was a strange question, because Kobach apparently didn’t understand that many blacks used guns to defend themselves against people who were trying to deny their right to vote. I don’t think the secretary of state was suggesting those disenfranchised by his voting law should take up arms.
Kobach said at the debate that we now show ID to buy guns, to get into certain movies, to check out books and to drive cars. Therefore, he argued, we should show IDs to vote. But Kobach should know that there was a need to show ID in all those other cases. There are about 32,000 deaths by guns each year in the United States. Thousands sneak into movies, steal or don’t return books to libraries, and many speed every day.
But we have a better chance of getting hit by lightning twice in our lifetime than of ever seeing voter fraud in Kansas. So this is not about voter fraud but stopping Kansas citizens from voting.
Kobach has created a law in search of a problem. He missed the undocumented immigrants he hates so much and hit more than 18,000 law-abiding Kansans, who now find themselves on the voter-suspension list. One of those on the voter-suspension list is my niece, who was ready to vote in this election.
Is this how Kansans want their laws to be created, on a possibility that someone might commit voter fraud? Isn’t that the very definition of big government?
Kansas, it is time for us to stand against the New Jim Crow. Join us at noon Saturday at St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, 701 S.W. Topeka Blvd., Topeka. We will provide information and voter-registration cards to register people on Sunday at their churches. If churches would like to get involved, they can reach me at 316-308-4036.
Then we so-called “churches” will roll to the polls and take souls to the polls in November to remind Kobach that we won’t be turned around.
Reuben Eckels is pastor of New Day Christian Church in Wichita.