Kansas views on voting law, Kobach, arts funding, state fair

Voting law – The ridiculousness of Kansas’ new voting regulations continues to reach new bounds. The Secure and Fair Elections Act, intended to prevent voter fraud from taking place, has resulted in about 12,000 legal residents being unable to take part in the electoral process. That is how many Kansans are classified as in a suspended state of voter registration because they have yet to produce proof of citizenship. Lest we forget, the election laws were passed overwhelmingly in 2011 in response to 75 reported cases of alleged fraud that took place between 1998 and 2008. None of the complaints was serious enough to result in a conviction. Zero.

Hays Daily News

People voting under false identities was never a problem in Kansas, but the “fix” is turning out to be quite the debacle. The Department of Revenue needs to step up and help resolve the problem. But at this point, even Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach might be relieved if courts would simply declare the proof-of-citizenship law to be unconstitutional, as they did with a similar Arizona measure.

Kansas City Star

Immigration reform – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is talking nonsense. He told the New York Times that Republicans were “idiots” who thought a vote for immigration reform would win over Latino voters. This is a desperation defense of Kobach’s own long-time use of anti-immigration sentiment to build a political career. Now he sounds like a marginalized Republican; he also sounds like a loser.

Winfield Daily Courier

Arts funding – The recent announcement that the state was awarding $58,000 in grants to eight arts projects across Kansas was a sad indication of how far state support for the arts has fallen under the leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback. In its 2010 annual report, the Kansas Arts Commission noted that, despite downturns in the economy, the agency was able to provide nearly $1.6 million in grants to organizations and artists. Those grants went to 299 organizations, government agencies and individuals in 59 different Kansas counties. The annual report for 2010 was the last one available for the commission, which was founded in 1966. Brownback took office in January 2011, and by the end of fiscal year 2011, the Kansas Arts Commission was in shambles. It’s so sad to see the vibrant program of the Kansas Arts Commission reduced to $58,000 in grants, mostly for physical improvements to buildings.

Lawrence Journal-World

State fair – Gov. Sam Brownback wanted the dates of the Kansas State Fair to include Labor Day weekend even when he was agriculture secretary and a member of the fair board. As it stands now, the fair begins the first Friday after Labor Day. But this year, in honor of the fair’s 100th birthday, general manager Denny Stoecklein and the board will take advantage of the holiday weekend by using Labor Day – Sept. 2 – to celebrate the event’s milestone birthday. It’s a win-win idea. The fair wins by drawing attention and a likely crowd for the event, and the governor wins by getting to test his theory that Labor Day weekend would boost fair attendance. It’s not exactly a fair test since there won’t be any of the usual fare at the fairgrounds – just a parade that day – but it’s a test just the same.

Hutchinson News