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A few days ago, someone asked me why I find interest in tough Democratic races that they want to write off.   Today, Jean Shodorf, candidate for Secretary of State in Kansas showed exactly why more Democrats should love these kind of races.   When a Democrat knows that a race will be difficult, there is little to prevent them from holding back.   Jean Shodorf appeared in the state  house today with a clear message:  Kris Kobach has lied to us, and his practices are not what makes us American.

Jean Shodorf had no problem today setting up her narrative:   Kris Kobach has used the Secretary of State office to remove voter protections and to harm his fellow Kansans.  In her view, Kobach's actions on these issues can't be easily wiped away as mistakes.

The Kansas Senate, of which I was a member, passed this bill with a bi-partisan effort on a vote

I do not regret voting for this law. I believe in fair, safe, and secure elections. Everything this legislation promised to be. My voting for this bill was not a mistake.

My mistake was trusting Kris Kobach: believing the lies that Kris Kobach told me, the lies that Kris Kobach told the Legislature, and the lies that Kris Kobach told the Kansas people.

Jean Shodorf delivered a withering indictment of Kobach's tenure as Secretary of State,
On January 23 of this year, Kris Kobach admitted to the Kansas House Elections committee that he knew there would be thousands of suspended voters.  THOUSANDS.  Extremist Kris Kobach either lied to the Senate in 2011, or he lied this year when he testified to the House. Either way, he lied to the people of Kansas.

As you can see on this graphic next to me, during the first year this law was in effect, over 1 in 4 of our friends, family, and neighbors were put into suspense.  One in four!  Extremist Kris Kobach stated in sworn testimony before the House Committee that this is perfectly acceptable.  In fact, he said that “he is proud” of that number.

In March of this year, Kobach promised that Two-Tiered voting would no longer be an issue for the voters of Kansas.  Earlier this month, Kris Kobach broke that promise and now two tiered voting will be in effect for the upcoming August primary elections.

Shodorf manages to echo the sentiment of so many of us, in a case we've been advocating for over a year.  

She continued her attack on Kobach:

Our extremist Secretary of State lied to the people of Kansas.  He promised to enact a law that would help to secure Kansas elections, and I trusted him. I wanted elections in Kansas where it would be easy to vote, but hard to cheat. But it is now clear to me his only focus is pushing his extremist agenda and radical ideology.

Kris Kobach has had over three years to enact and fix these problems he created.  His lack of leadership and focus on his personal agenda has damaged Kansas and our voting tradition.  

He does not view the suppression of thousands of Kansas voters as a problem, but we should expect no less from an extremist like Kobach. He has a long history of working around the country enacting radical laws   , serving for groups that have shadowy racial motivations  , and taking campaign contributions from people with ties to white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements .

(Full text of her speech is here:

It was just last year where we warned people that the issues of dual track voting represents unequal enforcement of voting rights.

So, when people ask me about why I love candidates others don't?   Because not only do they need the support, but they are the candidates who are least willing to suffer the elephant in the room.

Jean Shodorf felt as though she had been lied to.   Rather than cloak her words in an attempt to make a civil case of why she would do the job better she went for the jugular today and laid out the kind of campaign she wants to run - one where she tells people the truth as she knows it, rather than the polite thing to say.

I'm happy to break out the popcorn and see what happens next.

For more on Jean, check here:

Again, if you are in Hutchinson, KS on July 26, we expect to have Jean able to meet with all voters in the effort to restore Kansas.

5:14 PM PT: Kris Kobach Issued a response

“She wants to go to the bad old days when it was easy for aliens to vote. Every time an alien votes, it cancels out the vote of a U.S. citizen,” he said in a phone call.

Kobach said that the state presented 20 cases of illegal immigrants registering to vote between 2006 and 2009 in federal court. He estimates that it is more common than the identified cases.

Kobach fails to mention that since 1997, there have been exactly 7 convictions of 'voter fraud', and he doesn't qualify how many were immigrants, but it is easy to brand them.

Kobach continues:

They say Kobach has administrated the law poorly; he says it has been a success.

“I’d say it’s working perfectly well,” he said. “Right now 81 percent of the people who have registered since the law into effect have completed their registration from sending in proof of citizenship. Only 19 percent are taking their time, but any one of those people can do it at home from their couch this evening.”

Schodorf repeatedly called Kobach an “extremist” during her speech. She compared voter suspensions to segregation in the Jim Crow South and accused Kobach of having connections to white supremacist groups.

She confirmed that she was referring to Kobach’s legal work for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, better known as FAIR, which has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“It’s an outrageous accusation and it’s false,” Kobach said at the suggestion FAIR was a racist organization

Denying 19% of Kansans the right to vote is an 'outstanding success'.  

Good to know.

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