Kris Kobach (R) — Secretary of State

Biographical Information: 

  • Kansas Secretary of State, 2010-present
  • Yale Law School, New Haven, CT, Law degree (JD), 1995
  • Oxford University, England, Doctorate in Politics, 1992, Masters Degree in Politics, 1990
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, B.A. in Government, 1988, summa cum laude (graduated first in class in Harvard Government Department)
  • Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS, Graduated co-valedictorian, 1984
  • Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, 2007-2009
  • Counsel to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, 2001-2003
  • Member of the Overland Park City Council, 1999-2001

Personal Information:

Married to Heather Kobach; four daughters.

Campaign Website: Kansans for Kobach

What issues do you think should be top priority for the Kansas Secretary of State?

The single most important issue is ensuring that it is easy to vote but hard to cheat.  As Secretary of State, I authored the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, which the Legislature passed in 2011.  With the SAFE Act, Kansas became the first state in America to combine (1) photo ID at the polls, (2) equivalent security for mail-in ballots, and (3) proof of citizenship for new voter registrations.  Now other states (such as Alabama and Pennsylvania) have copied the Kansas model.

The second most important issue is ensuring that my office is as business-friendly as possible.  Under my leadership, our business services office is now fully online.  We have moved more than two million documents online, accountants can now file business documents through their own business software, and we are developing a one-stop shop for starting new businesses in Kansas.  On top of that, our response times have been remarkably short.  Everyone who calls our office speaks to a real person, 85% of phone calls are resolved in under 5 minutes, and 97% are resolved in under 10 minutes.

Do you feel that the current voter ID law and proof of citizenship law is adequate? If not, how do you feel it should be changed?

The law is working extremely well.  Only .07 % (fewer than 1 in 1,000) of voters in the 2012 election forgot to bring their photo ID; and they all had the opportunity to bring it in during the week after the election.  The proof of citizenship law is working extremely well.  Contrary to the claims of my opponents, the voters who have not yet completed their registration are not “disenfranchised” at all.  They need only email, fax or send in a copy of their birth certificate or passport.  They can do that from home, and they can do it today, if they want to complete their registration in time for this year’s elections.

What specific state issue do you think deserves your immediate attention and how to you plan to address it?

In addition to the issues of stopping voter fraud and making it easy to file business documents online, I think it is crucial that government stop spending so much of Kansas taxpayers’ money.  I have led the way in shrinking government.  During my term in the Secretary of State’s office, we reduced personnel by 14%, and I have kept my agency’s spending BELOW 2010 levels.  No other agency in Kansas government has accomplished that.

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