* In a 2010 press conference, Kobach asserted there could be as many as 2,000 people who were using the identities of dead people to vote in Kansas, mentioning it “certainly seems like a very real possibility” that “Albert K. Brewer” was an example of one such deceased individual who had voted in a recent primary. When The Wichita Eagle followed up on Kobach’s assertion, it discovered Brewer, 78 years old, was still alive, although his father, who was born in 1904 and had a different middle initial, had died in 1996. Brewer told the Eagle reporter, “I don’t think this is heaven, not when I’m raking leaves.”
Kobach has also said that there are 18,000 non-citizens registered to vote in Kansas, a claim that NBC News described as “misleading” and “debunked”.
Kobach supported Trump’s claims that millions of non-citizens voted in the 2016 presidential election. Kobach estimated that 3.2 million non-citizens voted, citing a widely debunked study. Kobach complained that, during one of his appearances, CNN ran text on the screen saying Kobach’s claims that millions illegally voted in the 2016 election were “false”. CNN also asked him if he had any proof of his allegation that thousands of Massachusetts voters actually had voted in New Hampshire in 2016. He replied that he had none.
In September 2017, Kobach claimed to have proof that voter fraud swung the 2016 Senate race in New Hampshire and may have swung New Hampshire’s 2016 presidential vote; fact-checkers and election experts found that Kobach’s assertion was false. Kobach claimed that more than 5,000 individuals voted by using out-of-state driving licenses as identification, even though New Hampshire residents are required to update their licenses in order to drive. However, New Hampshire state law allows residents of the state who happen to have out-of-state driving licenses to vote. There are a number of reasons why some voters may use out-of-state driving licenses, with the most likely being that they are out-of-state college students. Numerous legitimate New Hampshire voters said that this was the case with them; they were students at colleges in New Hampshire who had yet to update their driving license. New Hampshire Public Radio also found that most instances of out-of-state driving licenses being used were in college towns. Another reason is that they may be military personnel on active duty. FactCheck.Org described Kobach’s claim as “baseless” and “bogus”, noting that Kobach “hasn’t provided evidence of any illegal voting”. Later that September, Kobach backtracked on his claims, but said that there have been “anecdotal reports” about voter fraud.
Richard L. Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, an election law expert, has described Kobach as a “charlatan”, “provocateur” and “a leader nationally in making irresponsible claims that voter fraud is a major problem in this country.”
* In 2015, Kobach received from the legislature and the governor the right to prosecute cases of voter fraud, after claiming for four years that Kansas had a massive problem of voter fraud that the local and state prosecutors were not adequately addressing. At that time, he “said he had identified more than 100 possible cases of double voting.” Testifying during hearings on the bill, questioned by Rep. John Carmichael, Kobach was unable to cite a single other state that gives its Secretary of State such authority. By February 7, 2017, Kobach had filed nine cases and obtained six convictions. All were regarding cases of double voting; none would have been prevented by voter ID laws. One case was dropped. The other two were still pending. All six convictions involved older citizens, including four white Republican men and one woman, who were unaware that they had done anything wrong.
* Kobach examined 84 million votes that were cast in 22 states, but referred only 14 cases to be prosecuted. University of Kansas assistant professor of political science Patrick Miller includes voter intimidation as a form of fraud. “The substantially bigger issue with voter fraud has been election fraud being perpetrated by election officials and party officials tampering with votes … It is not the rampant problem that the public believes that is there. Kris Kobach says it is. Donald Trump says it is. And the data just aren’t there to prove it. It’s a popular misconception that this is a massive problem.”
A Brennan Center for Justice report calculated that rates of actual voter fraud are between 0.00004 percent and 0.0009 percent. The Center calculated that someone is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud.
* University of Kansas assistant professor of political science Patrick Miller defines voter fraud as manipulating the process of an election, either by perjury, casting multiple votes, voter intimidation or improper vote counting.
“In a broad sense, anytime you have someone voting who’s not eligible to vote,” they cancel out the vote of someone who is, said Bryan Caskey, state election director in the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. “And in highly contested elections, that’s a big deal. In Kansas, every election cycle we have elections that are decided by a handful of votes. … So it doesn’t take much for an outcome of an election to be changed if people are voting who are not eligible to vote.”
The SAFE law targets voter impersonation, not other variations of voter fraud. Since the legislation went into effect in 2012, six cases of voter fraud have been prosecuted.
* Paul Baker, a supervising judge who oversees Election Day operations at Precinct 9 in Lawrence, said he doesn’t see rampant voter fraud.
“I mean, there is always some possibility (of voter fraud), but it is always very unlikely,” Baker said. “There are so many procedures we go through to verify who they are, and the fact if they are registered or unregistered. We have a whole procedure and do training ahead of time.”
* When it comes to voter fraud, Miller said, the bigger issue should be whether election officials are tampering with elections, not individual voters.
“The substantially bigger issue with voter fraud has been election fraud being perpetrated by election officials and party officials tampering with votes,” Miller said. “You know, doing things like throwing books out, making up votes, creating ballots for people who didn’t show up and blatantly counting ballots the other way.”
Miller said Kansas has never had a significant history of voter fraud compared with other states. Throughout U.S. history, he said, voter fraud hasn’t been a single-party issue.
“The people that would be most likely (to have the most difficulty) to provide birth certificate to register to vote would be people who have moved into the state and are seeking a new license,” said KU journalism professor David Guth, who teaches a class on elections. “It could be older people. Some of the research I have seen has suggested that some of the people most likely to have difficulty providing that kind of information tend to vote Democratic.
“And so I’m just suspicious with (Kobach’s) motives. I just have not seen evidence that there is widespread voter fraud in Kansas.”
A number of states, including Ohio, South Carolina and Georgia, have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to investigate voter fraud in the 2012 election. Those states combined came up with fewer than 40 cases.