There’s so much voter suppression news I’m a little overwhelmed and tempted to just curl up in a ball and start crying, but this truly disgusting tactical move should probably be top-tier, so here goes.
Just how closely do you hug a controversial supporter? Especially a supporter who could be of a lot more help now than in the general election? It seems this is a problem Mitt Romney has been pondering ever since he was embraced by the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach. Kobach is perhaps best known as the lead architect of the divisive new immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama. This leaves Romney in a delicate situation: hugging him back now could help wrap up the GOP primary especially since the next hurdle is with the traditionally hardcore conservative base in South Carolina. However, if he doesn’t make some efforts to wriggle out of it before he has to start courting Hispanic votes, then it could become a bear hug. It seems we just had a preview of how one goes about squaring that circle. On Monday, ThinkProgress picked up on a Friday Hill report that Kobach would be appearing with Romney at a campaign stop. The story went wide for a holiday (it was Martin Luther King Day Monday), and that led to some rejoicing/pre-condemning from Latino groups who say Romney’s close connection with Kobach seals his fate with the Latino voter in November.
One would certainly hope so.
This is what Mitt Romney supporter Kobach is up to today:
Kansas is ill-prepared to ensure poor, elderly, minority and transient Kansans have convenient access to documents and ID cards that will allow them to cast a ballot in elections this year, voter advocates said this morning.
Louis Goseland, who represents the KanVote group fighting voter suppression, said he and others in Wichita have tested agencies to see if they’re prepared for voter ID laws now in effect and that those agencies seem uninformed and unprepared to help would-be voters.
“It’s just been one thing after another,” he told the House Elections Committee this morning.
Goseland’s assessment comes as part of the back-and-forth between advocacy groups and those who support Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s proposal to move-up the effective date of a new law that will require people registering to vote in Kansas for the first time to prove their U.S. citizenship with one of 12 forms of identification, including a birth certificate.
This is what you see if you’re a new voter and you go to the Kansas Secretary of State website, today:
If you’re a registered voter, bring one of these to the polls:
Driver’s license, military ID, Kansas college ID, Nondriver ID Card, Concealed Carry Gun Permit, Government Employee ID, or Public Assistance ID Card.
Changes in Kansas Voting Law
On April 18, 2011, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections (S.A.F.E.) Act into law. Sponsored by the Office of the Kansas Secretary of State, this website contains information every voter should know about changes impacting elections under the S.A.F.E. law.
Starting January 1, 2012:
1. Kansas voters must show photographic identification when casting a vote in person; and
2. Kansas voters must have their signature verified and provide a full Kansas driver’s license or non-driver ID number when voting by mail.
Starting January 1, 2013:
Newly-registered Kansas voters must prove U.S. citizenship when registering to vote.
Romney supporter Kobach is trying to move that 2013 date up, in the hopes that new voters will be completely confused on voter registration, and not be able to vote.
To recap: anti-immigrant activist and Romney supporter Kobach pushed through new voting restrictions, to take effect in 2012. His office is not now prepared to administer those new restrictions properly. Not satisfied with that, Kobach is now hoping to push the date of the proof of citizenship requirement up, from 2013 to 2012, to coincide with the election where Barack Obama is on the ballot, in an election year where national conservative leaders have demonized immigrants and certain minority groups every single day.
Romney needs to wear this like a badge in the general election. It’s reprehensible.