12/28/2012 02:17 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2012

Kris Kobach Says He Stopped 90% Of Voter ID Problems In Kansas

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks with party members at the Republican election watch party in Topeka, Kan., Tuesda
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks with party members at the Republican election watch party in Topeka, Kan., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Kobach is not on the ballot this election. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) said his push for new voter identification requirements and other election law changes stopped 90 percent of past voter problems in the state.

Kobach told The Associated Press that his push for the state's voter identification laws -- implemented during this year's election -- along with coming provisions requiring proof of citizenship to vote helped reduce voting problems. Kobach said that his office did not have any reported cases of voter fraud this year. He is seeking to expand his office's power to investigate and prosecute voter fraud cases in Kansas. Democrats oppose the move however, saying Kobach and his office are election administrators, not prosecutors.

"It's such a strange argument, the idea that we don't want to take election crimes seriously because the current secretary of state is a conservative," Kobach told the AP .

Kansas' leading Kobach opponent, state Rep. Ann Mah (D-Topeka) told The Huffington Post she takes issue with Kobach's claim to have reduced voter fraud by 90-percent.

“Hey, they could have prevented 100 percent since there were no past problems," Mah said. "A 100 percent of nothing is nothing.”

Mah, the ranking Democrat on the state House Elections Committee, said that while she is leaving the Legislature next month, she plans to continue opposing Kobach's voter proposals. She said she is researching the votes not counted this year because the voter could not provide identification. Mah found several cases of senior citizens who wanted to vote but could not provide the necessary identification, she said.

Under Kansas law, voters have up to seven days following the election to provide a valid photo ID to county election officials to have their ballot counted. Five hundred ballots statewide were not counted this year due to lack of proper identification.

Mah is leaving the state legislature following her narrow defeat in November by a Kobach-backed candidate. Mah did achieve a federal court victory over Kobach following the election, receiving permission to have the names and addresses of all voters in her district who were given provisional ballots. Kobach had objected, but Mah said she wanted to contact the voters to let them know about submitting an ID in the seven-day window.

Mah is considered a likely candidate for the Legislature or secretary of state in 2014 and said she will be presenting recommendations of her own to state lawmakers next year. She still has questions about Kobach's logic.

“When you make up a problem, it’s pretty easy to stop it," Mah said. "I didn’t hear about anyone dropping over with a heart attack at the polls; I think he stopped that, too.”



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