Kansas

Articles about voting issues in Kansas.

Kansas: Elections director: Crosscheck last used in 2017, when audit found security risks | St. John News

State elections director Bryan Caskey told lawmakers Tuesday the controversial Interstate Crosscheck program hasn’t been used since 2017, when a Homeland Security audit discovered vulnerabilities, and won’t be used this year. The program is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 945 voters whose partial Social Security numbers were exposed by Florida officials through an open records request. In an appearance before the House Elections Committee, Caskey said Secretary of State Scott Schwab has ordered a review of Crosscheck to determine whether to abandon the program all together. He also said the state could use $2 million in federal funds untouched by former Secretary Kris Kobach to gain access to an alternative. The initial cost for the Electronic Registration Information Center would be $25,000.

Full Article: Kansas elections director: Crosscheck last used in 2017, when audit found security risks - News - SJ News Online - St. John, KS - St. John, KS.

Kansas: With Kris Kobach Out Of Office, His Voting Policies Could Wither In Kansas | KMUW

Former Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach rewrote the rules for voting in Kansas. Laws he pushed for required voters to show citizenship papers to register and ID at the polls. He secured prosecutorial powers for his office. Kobach’s term only ended a couple weeks ago, but some cornerstones of his legacy are already starting to crumble. A federal court knocked down the state’s voter registration rule last summer. Interstate Crosscheck, a voter records system that Kobach said could help states maintain their voter rolls and spot double voting, is currently on hold and could be abandoned. The new secretary of state wants to take the spotlight off the office. Republican Scott Schwab was sworn in on Jan. 14 and quickly backed one significant change.

Full Article: With Kris Kobach Out Of Office, His Voting Policies Could Wither In Kansas | KMUW.

Kansas: Judge: Kansas’ Largest County Violated Law By Not Specifying Rejected Ballots | Associated Press

A judge has ruled that election officials in Kansas’ largest county violated open records law by refusing to provide names of hundreds of people whose provisional ballots were not counted in last August’s primary. Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, asked for the names of 898 people whose ballots were thrown out and for justification on why they didn’t count. Johnson County election commissioner Ronnie Metsker rejected Hammet’s request, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to join Hammet in a lawsuit. District Judge David Hauber ruled in Hammet’s favor on Thursday, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Metzger didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the ruling.

Full Article: Judge: Kansas’ Largest County Violated Law By Not Specifying Rejected Ballots – Talking Points Memo.

Kansas: Court orders elections officer to disclose records on dismissed ballots | The Hutchinson News

A Johnson County District Court judge ruled Thursday in favor of a voting rights advocate seeking records about hundreds of ballots that were tossed in the August primary. Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, asked for the names of individuals who cast provisional ballots and the justification for why they didn’t count. His request was rejected by the Johnson County election commissioner, Ronnie Metsker. The American Civil Liberties Union supported Hammet in a lawsuit challenging the lack of transparency. District Judge David Hauber ruled the refusal to provide names was a violation of the Kansas Open Records Act.”Now elections officials know that whenever they throw out a ballot people will know, and so they need to be really strict about standards,” Hammet said.

Full Article: Court orders Kansas elections officer to disclose records on dismissed ballots - News - The Hutchinson News - Hutchinson, KS.

Kansas: State drops Kris Kobach’s appeal of contempt ruling, ACLU accepts $20,000 for legal fees | The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas attorney general said Tuesday the state agreed to drop former Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s appeal of a federal court judge’s contempt order in exchange for the American Civil Liberties Union accepting only $20,000 for attorney fees and expenses. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the negotiated deal reduced from $26,200 the state’s obligation to the ACLU. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson had found Kobach in contempt of court while he was serving as secretary of state in Kansas. Robinson sanctioned Kobach for failure to comply with her instructions. Mediation involving ACLU lawyers and the attorney general’s office Jan. 25 also led to dismissal of Kobach’s appeal of the contempt ruling. It didn’t alter status of the state’s appeal of Robinson’s underlying election law decision, which found Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship statute unconstitutional.

Full Article: Kansas drops Kris Kobach's appeal of contempt ruling, ACLU accepts $20,000 for legal fees - News - The Topeka Capital-Journal - Topeka, KS.

Kansas: Senate bill allows same-day registration, voting in Kansas elections | McPherson Sentinel

A bipartisan group Kansas senators endorsed a bill abandoning a state law requiring people to register at least three weeks in advance of an election to be eligible to vote. Contents of Senate Bill 43 would allow Kansans residents to register to vote and cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. Under current law, voters must be registered by the 21st day before the election. For example, the 2018 deadline for voter registration was July 17 for the primary conducted Aug. 7. In the Nov. 6 general election, the registration deadline was Oct. 16.

Full Article: Senate bill allows same-day registration, voting in Kansas elections - News - McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS - McPherson, KS.

Kansas: With Kobach gone, bills target his legacy of prosecuting vote fraud | The Wichita Eagle

A big piece of Kris Kobach’s legacy appears to be on its way out as Kansas lawmakers move forward on parallel tracks to repeal the authority of the secretary of state to prosecute election crimes. The House Judiciary Committee is considering one bill to do that, introduced by Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita. The House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice is considering a slightly different version requested by Attorney General Derek Schmidt last week. Either would revoke the authority the secretary of state now has to take people to court if they violate laws related to voting. Kobach, a lawyer, fought for years to get that authority when he served in the post, finally winning the battle in 2015. He was convinced that it held the key to stop what he believed was widespread fraudulent voting by illegal immigrants.

Full Article: With Kobach gone, bills target his legacy of prosecuting vote fraud | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Kobach grand jury process to begin next week in Douglas County | Lawrence Journal-World

Grand jury proceedings to investigate former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office will begin next week in Douglas County District Court, according to the judge presiding over them. Judge Kay Huff said that the proceedings would begin in her courtroom on Jan. 22, a Tuesday, following Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public. Huff mentioned the grand jury during a hearing for a murder trial she had been scheduled to preside over this week, noting that the grand jury matter was a priority that could not be moved despite other proceedings in her courtroom.

Full Article: Kobach grand jury process to begin next week in Douglas County | News, Sports, Jobs - Lawrence Journal-World: news, information, headlines and events in Lawrence, Kansas.

Kansas: Ford County pays more than $70,000 to firm hired in Kansas voting rights case | Topeka Capital Journal

Ford County has paid more than $70,000 in legal fees to the firm representing County Clerk Debbie Cox, who was sued over voting access in one of the state’s few majority-minority cities. In October and November, the county paid $71,481 to the Hinkle Law Firm, which is based in Wichita, a document obtained through an open records request indicates. The money comes from the county’s general fund, Cox said. The ACLU sued Cox in late October after she moved Dodge City’s sole voting location outside city limits because the original location was to undergo construction. The lawsuit alleged that the move disenfranchised voters and in particular, the Hispanic population, who make up about 60 percent of the town.

Full Article: Ford County pays more than $70,000 to firm hired in Kansas voting rights case.

Kansas: Judge troubled by clerk’s ‘LOL’ remark, but won’t order another Dodge City polling site | The Wichita Eagle

A southwest Kansas county clerk doesn’t have to open a second polling site in Dodge City, a federal judge ruled on Thursday. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree said forcing Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox to open an additional polling location in Dodge City so close to the Nov. 6 election would not be in the public’s interest. But Crabtree said he is troubled by Cox’s reaction to an American Civil Liberties Union letter, which Cox forwarded last week to a state official with the comment “LOL.” Cox moved the city’s only polling place from a central location in town, the Civic Center, to the Expo Center half a mile outside the city limits this fall. The new location is not accessible via sidewalk and there is no regular public transportation there, though the city has said it will provide rides to voters. The League of United Latin American Citizens and 18-year-old first-time voter Alejandro Rangel-Lopez had sued Cox in an effort to force her to open a second polling location.

Full Article: Judge: Dodge City’s single polling place OK for now | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Lawyers clash over adding second Dodge City voting site | The Wichita Eagle

Opening a second Election Day polling place in Dodge City is impossible, an attorney for the county clerk at the center of a growing Kansas controversy over voting rights said Monday. An 18-year-old Dodge City resident and a Latino civil rights group are suing Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox in an effort to force her to reopen the polling location used by Dodge City’s 13,000 registered voters before Cox moved voting to a site a half mile outside the city limits. Attorneys for the resident, Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, and the League of United Latin American Citizens clashed with attorneys for Cox during a conference call in the case. With the Nov. 6 election approaching, Judge Daniel Crabtree decided to give both sides until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file written arguments.

Full Article: Lawyers clash over adding second Dodge City voting site | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Dodge City polling place debacle: voter suppression or incompetence? | The Guardian

It’s true that if Alejandro Rangel wants to vote on election day, he has to get out of Dodge. But that is not the whole story. Befitting its status as an iconic city of the American West with a reputation built around legendary outlaws and mythical lawmen, Dodge City is now caught in the middle of a political gunfight that has swiftly generated its own half-truths and spiraled into a national controversy. The Democrats drew first, pointing out that the only place to vote in Dodge City on election day is being moved two and a half miles from the city center to an exhibition hall in what amounts to an urban wilderness. The move, they said, will further disenfranchise Latinos who make up a majority of the city’s residents but turn out to vote in very low numbers and have no one from their community elected to the city or county commissions.

Full Article: Dodge City polling place debacle: voter suppression or incompetence? | US news | The Guardian.

Kansas: Dodge City polling place move ignites voter access fears | The Wichita Eagle

After the ACLU objected to Dodge City’s single, out-of-town polling place, the local official in charge of elections forwarded to the state an ACLU letter asking her to publicize a voter help line. “LOL,” she wrote in an email to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office. As Election Day approaches, concerns are being raised in Kansas over voting rights and access to the polls. The movement and elimination of some polling places is sparking fears that casting a ballot may be more difficult for some this year. Nowhere are worries greater than in Dodge City, where residents must leave town if they want to vote on Election Day. The city has drawn national scrutiny over voting rights since Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox — citing construction — moved its only polling location to a building south of the city limits. The site can’t be reached by sidewalks and is separated from much of the city by train tracks. Sixty percent of the town’s residents are Hispanic. “I don’t hate Debbie Cox. I don’t want anything against her. I just want her to do her job properly” and promote voter turnout, said Alejandro Rangel, who plans to cast the first ballot of his life on Nov. 6 after turning 18 on Oct. 29. Cox said she moved the polling location out of a concern for safety. And she said she didn’t mean anything when she wrote “LOL.”

Full Article: Dodge City polling place move ignites voter access fears | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Texts to voters purportedly from Trump roil Kansas election | Associated Press

Kansas election officials are reviewing text messages claiming to be from President Donald Trump and telling residents that their early votes hadn’t been recorded, as Democratic leaders were quick Thursday to worry that they were part of efforts to “steal” a close governor’s race. State Elections Director Bryan Caskey said the Kansas secretary of state’s office received 50 or 60 calls about the texts Wednesday, mostly from the northeastern part of the state. Caskey said the office is trying to determine whether the texts broke a law before determining what to do next. One text says “Your absentee ballot is ready. Remember to vote for Pres. Trump’s allies.” A follow-up text says, “This is President Trump. Your early vote has NOT been RECORDED on Kansas’s roster.” It urges the voter to confirm his or her polling place.

Full Article: Texts to voters purportedly from Trump roil Kansas election.

Kansas: Meet The Kansas Woman Who Exposed Security Flaws In Kris Kobach’s Voter Fraud Tool | KCUR

Come in and sit down at Anita Parsa’s kitchen table. Help yourself to the chocolate chip cookies and she’ll get you an iced tea. Might as well make yourself comfortable. Because for the next hour, she’s going to school you on a massive voter-tracking program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. “I like to figure out puzzles,” Parsa says. “I like to crack things, and that’s what this is all about.” This particular puzzle was Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck system, which holds voter registration data for 25 states. A list of more than 85 million voters, it purports to catch election fraud by weeding out double voting. Crosscheck reportedly provided the numbers behind President Donald Trump’s baseless claim, after the 2016 election, that he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” – an assertion that Kobach had helped fuel. After his inauguration, when Trump appointed Kobach, with Vice President Mike Pence, to lead his now-defunct Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Kobach attempted to take the Crosscheck model national. His idea was to get federal jury-service data to identify duplicate voter registrations, according to public documents.

Full Article: Meet The Kansas Woman Who Exposed Security Flaws In Kris Kobach's Voter Fraud Tool | KCUR.

Kansas: Certified voting machines? | The Hutchison News

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office failed to produce records this summer showing it had certified the voting equipment used by hundreds of thousands of Kansans. Kansas statute requires the Secretary of State to certify equipment before counties purchase it and to keep such certification on file. But the office, responding to a Kansas Open Records Act request in June, could provide only two letters of equipment certification that Kobach issued in the past five years. Yet some counties – including Reno and Finney, as well as Sedgwick, Wyandotte, and Shawnee – have purchased systems since October 2013 that were not the systems mentioned in the two certification letters in Topeka. Why were they omitted?

Full Article: Certified voting machines?.

Kansas: With 3.5 weeks until election, Johnson County gets certification for update to voting machine software that caused reporting delays in August | Shawnee Mission Post

Officials have signed off on a patched version of the software program that will power Johnson County’s voting system next month. The question is, will it work? A month and a half after the company announced it had rewritten the portion of its software program that led to massive reporting delays in the August primary elections, Election Systems & Software has received federal and state certification for the software’s use in the Nov. 6 general election, Johnson County announced today. ES&S submitted the corrected software program to the Election Assistance Commission for review on Sept. 5 and received notice of certification on Oct. 4. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office announced today that it was granting state certification to the system as well.

Full Article: With 3.5 weeks until election, Johnson County gets certification for update to voting machine software that caused reporting delays in August.

Kansas: Post-Election Audits In Kansas Begin With 2019 Elections | KMUW

Starting next year, Kansas counties are required to do post-election audits. The check will make sure the voting process — from equipment to office procedures — is done correctly, and the election results are accurate. According to legislation approved earlier this year, a county election board will review at least one contested race on federal, state and county levels. According to legislation approved earlier this year, a county election board will review at least one contested race on federal, state and county levels. The audit will be a hand recount of paper ballots, regardless of the method of voting, in one percent of randomly selected voting districts in each county.

Full Article: Post-Election Audits In Kansas Begin With 2019 Elections | KMUW.

Kansas: Johnson County Primary Voting Saga Continues As ACLU Sues County Election Commissioner | KCUR

The ACLU of Kansas is now suing Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to gain access to lists of 900 voters who filed provisional ballots and about 150 voters whose advance ballots were not counted in the August primary.  It’s the latest in an ongoing saga over the controversial Johnson County primary, which involved a serious delay in vote counting and a technical glitch in the county’s new, $10.5 million voting machines. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, a nonprofit working to increase voter turnout. He’s suing after being denied access to the lists, but more than that, he said, he’s concerned there are bigger issues in the county. 

Full Article: Johnson County Primary Voting Saga Continues As ACLU Sues County Election Commissioner | KCUR.

Kansas: ACLU sues for Johnson County voters’ names whose ballots were rejected | The Kansas City Star

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to get the names of Johnson County voters who cast provisional ballots in the August primary. The ACLU also wants a list of voters in the county who cast advance mail ballots that were rejected because their signature didn’t match their voter record. The lawsuit comes after a tumultuous Republican primary election for gov rnor that exposed sometimes-subjective vote counting. Some Kansas counties counted ballots that would have been tossed out in others in a race between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer that was decided by fewer than 350 votes. “We aren’t asking to see who they voted for or any private information,” said Lauren Bonds, the ACLU of Kansas’ legal director, in a statement. “That information should be afforded the utmost privacy. However, people should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting. The public interest here is just transparency.”

Full Article: ACLU sues for JoCo voters’ names whose ballots were rejected | The Kansas City Star.