Kansas’s new voter fraud website ignores the types of voter fraud that actually happen in Kansas

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach rolled out a new website yesterday that will allow anyone — Kansas, non-Kansas and even international citizens — to report voter fraud incidents.

Anti-voter ID protest, via Creative Common

Anti-voter ID protest, via Creative Common

The website is sanctioned under SB 34, a bill passed last month that vastly expands Kobach’s authority to seek out and prosecute voter fraud. With the bill’s passage, Kobach is allowed to prosecute voter fraud cases even if local prosecutors decline to pursue them. This makes Kobach one of the most powerful secretaries of state in the country when it comes to chasing down voter fraud cases.

Similar reporting efforts in other states have (predictably) been more trouble than they were worth. In 2014, the Alabama Republican Party offered a $1000 reward for information leading to voter fraud convictions. They turned up a few claims, but none of them resulted in convictions and none of them amounted to the kind of election-altering organized voter fraud that proponents seem convinced is taking place.

Bear in mind that in-person voter fraud is less common than UFO sightings and incidents of lightning striking people. But not to worry, the website allows for voters to report other kinds of voter fraud, ranging from bribery to corrupt advertising to “disorderly election conduct.”

The types of voter fraud Kansas is looking for you to report

The types of voter fraud Kansas is asking people to report

While there is an “other” box that respondents can check, notably absent from the pre-selectable options is voter suppression. While there is a box for “voter intimidation,” that wouldn’t include some of the more common forms of misleading voters to keep them from casting ballots, like sending mailers and robocalls with the incorrect election dates, requirements or polling locations.

Like that time in 2010 when Kansas voters received a robocall telling them that they needed proof of home ownership in order to vote…on a Wednesday. Given that this form of voter fraud is more common in Kansas than the kind of voter fraud their government is obsessed over, one would think that they would include it in the list of incidents people can report.

But that isn’t the point of the site. The point of the site is to reassure Kansas voters that their government is doing everything it can to keep low-income (read: brown) people from voting.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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