Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Kris Kobach—the mastermind behind Arizona's sweeping immigration law—is now poised to become Kansas' next Secretary of State. As I reported a few months ago, the Republican anti-immigration lawyer has focused his entire campaign on voter fraud, playing up fears that illegal immigrants are stealing the vote and pushing for a new law that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls. Kobach now leads his Democratic opponent by 18 points.
Via TPM Muckracker, here's Kobach explaining his vote-stealing fears in full detail:
"Voter fraud is a very real problem in Kansas. Election crimes have been documented across the state--from fraudulent registrations, to vote-by-mail fraud. As the activities of ACORN have demonstrated, organizations that promote voter fraud have burrowed into every corner of our country," he writes on his web site. "In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive…Our voter rolls must be purged of thousands of deceased individuals, illegally-registered aliens, and felons."
Numerous independent studies have found that voter fraud is an exceedingly rare phenomenon. But it's a convenient target for conservative activists like Kobach, who's built his career crafting anti-immigration laws across the country.
If he succeeds in becoming Secretary of State, Kobach will have a substantive impact in the ways that votes are counted in 2012, crafting rules about how voters are registered and elections are run. In response to the rise of conservative candidates like Kobach, liberal groups like the George Soros-funded Secretary of State Project have tried to fight back by supporting Democratic candidates in swing states. That group raised the specter of the tea party in their latest fundraising letter*, warning that if conservative-backed candidates win, "vote suppression, demands for excessive ID requirements, and sheer hysteria would rule the day in 2012."