Hand out the celebratory cigars. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach finally nabbed himself an immigrant. Pardon if we don’t order the band to play. Kobach announced Wednesday that he’d achieved an elusive goal — catching an immigrant who voted illegally in a Kansas election. Victor David Garcia Bebek of Wichita pleaded guilty to voter fraud. The Peruvian native’s voting record was uncovered after he registered to vote and it was discovered that he’d already voted three times in past elections. It’s a misdemeanor. A cautionary note for those tempted to crow that the case confirms the nonsense about undocumented immigrants committing widespread voter fraud: Bebek was discovered after he gained U.S. citizenship this year. He was legally present in the country when he cast previous votes.
Of course, that doesn’t make what Bebek did acceptable. He deserves to pay a penalty. That will be unsupervised probation for up to three years and a $5,000 fine, Kobach’s office says.
This case must be weighed against the damage done by Kobach’s capers in chasing down errant voters.
The Republican secretary of state also pursued a 2011 change in Kansas election law that has landed the state in federal court. The law changed the documents required to register to vote, putting Kansas in conflict with federal law. In one lawsuit, the new regulations were termed a “needless bureaucratic maze.”