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Biggs-Kobach candidate forum

By   /   October 13, 2010  /   3 Comments

Steve Kraske (left) moderated a candidate forum between Chris Biggs (center) and Kris Kobach (right) on Tuesday evening

OVERLAND PARK.  Chris Biggs (D, Junction City) faced challenger Kris Kobach (R, Piper) in a candidate forum at the Jewish Community Center on Tuesday evening.

The candidates debated a variety of topics related to the office of Secretary of State.  About 160 attended.

The two candidates responded to a number of questions from moderator Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star and KCUR FM.  Kraske picked many questions from the audience:

  • Voter fraud?
  • Upgrade of how Kansans vote?
  • Increasing voter turnout?  Weekend ballots?
  • Outside legal work?
  • Initiatives and referendums like Missouri?
  • Replace caucus with presidential primary?
  • Voting on the Internet?
  • Management experience?
  • How to streamline office?

See the responses from Biggs and Kobach in the videos below.  Approximate times (minutes:seconds) of statements are shown to help find any particular clip.

Part 1

Opening Statements:  Biggs (0:00), Kobach (2:55), Biggs (6:18), Kobach (8:35)

Live Tweets from @KansasWatchdog:

  • #KSSOS At Jewish Community Center in OP to live tweet/video candidate forum between Chris Biggs & Kris Kobach for Kansas Sec of State  6:49 PM  Oct 12
  • #KSSOS Steve Kraske from the Kansas City Star and KCUR-FM will be moderator for Biggs-Kobach candidate forum in Overland Park. Starts soon.  6:59 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs and Kobach to give 3-minute opening remarks in their Secretary of State candidate forum.  7:10 PM
  • #KSSOS Opening remarks between Biggs and Kobach focus on voter fraud issues in addition to qualifications.  7:18 PM

Part 2

Q1 (0:00): If a case of voter fraud arises, how should that case be handled?

Biggs (0:16), Kobach (2:32), Biggs (4:47), Kobach (5:54)

Q2 (7:04): What about security of the voting place itself? Is it time for an upgrade on how Kansans vote? Kobach (7:36), Biggs (9:49), Kobach (11:56), Biggs (13:11)

Live Tweets:

  • #KSSOS Q1: How should voter fraud case be handled? 7:21 PM  Oct 12
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Responsibility lies with local county attorney. Can ask for help from KBI and KS SOS.  7:21 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Dangerous precedent to allow KS Sec of State to prosecute voter fraud issues. SOS has very defined function.  7:22 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: “We don’t need a police force inside Secretary of State’s office”  7:23 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Most members of public don’t know where to report voter fraud. Would make SOS web site a focal point.  7:24 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Most county attorneys busy, may not have time for voter fraud. Experienced investigators should look at complaints.  7:25 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Should have parallel prosecution. Either local or state official.  7:25 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: “Think of what he said. Cases are so rare.” Procedures are there now.  7:26 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Zero is the number of voter fraud prosecutions. “Status quo isn’t working.” Biggs makes fun of 75 cases.  7:27 PM
  • #KSSOS Q2: Security of voting place itself? Need upgrade in how Kansans vote? 7:28 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: System is dependent on volunteers. “Can and should upgrade training for poll workers.” Reasonable steps to improve.  7:30 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: “I have no problem to a solution that is rational”. Doesn’t like expensive solution like photo ID. Some don’t have IDs.  7:31 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Too expensive? Asks audience who doesn’t have IDs. State would pay for IDs for disabled, others needing IDs.  7:34 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: “Very difficult to look a something in isolation and draw conclusion. Cites League of Women Voters study.  7:35 PM
  • #KSSOS Kraske admonishes audience for outbursts.  7:35 PM

Part 3

Q3 (0:00): How would you as Secretary of State increase voter turnout? Would you be in favor of allowing voters to cast ballots on weekends?

Biggs (0:16), Kobach (1:53), Biggs (4:03), Kobach (5:14)

Q4 (6:25): Will you perform legal work in addition to your duties as Secretary of State? Kobach (6:42), Biggs (8:44), Kobach (10:50), Biggs (12:03)

Live Tweets:

  • #KSSOS Q3: How would you increase voter turn out? Allow weekend voting? 7:36 PM  Oct 12
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Are we making our elections accessible? We need to improve turnout. Are doing many things now.  7:37 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: We should look at root causes of voter apathy. Begins in schools. Only 42% of students can name 3 branches of government.  7:38 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: I see a trend here related to Kobach’s professor’s job. Is strong believer in civics education. Need schools funded.  7:40 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach is telling about voter fraud in Missouri House District 40 decided by 1 vote. “We have a problem” with non US citizens.  7:41 PM
  • #KSSOS Q4: Will either of you do work outside the office? 7:42 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Will spend full time as Secretary of State. Still has time to do some work in spare time and should be largely irrelevant.  7:43 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: “I do believe we should have full time Secretary of State.” My opponent’s heart is often elsewhere. Focus on Kansas matters.  7:45 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Does not agree that illegal immigrants are voting such as Somalis described by Kobach in MO 40 case.  7:46 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Voter registration card is “the sign” about citizenship for illegal immigrants. Doesn’t matter why. Crime should be stopped.  7:47 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Signs can be improved. Had to be fixed. Making the leap that illegal immigrants are involved is not appropriate.  7:48 PM

Part 4

Q5 (0:00): Missouri has a system of initiatives and referendums to bypass the legislature to get things on the ballot. What is your position on initiatives and referendums and why? Biggs (0:12), Kobach (2:24), Biggs (4:38), Kobach (5:50)

Q6 (7:00): What will you do to replace the caucus system in Kansas with a presidential primary system? Kobach (7:10), Biggs (9:10)

Q7 (9:42) Do you think we will soon be voting on the Internet? Would that be a good idea?  Biggs (9:51), Kobach (10:43), Biggs (12:48), Kobach (13:40)

Live Tweets:

  • #KSSOS Q5: Missouri has system of initiatives and referendums. Would you favor in Kansas? 7:49 PM  Oct 12
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Could harm agriculture. Could bring undue influence on other elections. Hasn’t worked well in California, Missouri.  7:50 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: “We need not look to California”. 24 states have process. Many in west.  Taxes are lower in general where process is present.  7:52 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: People vote on emotion. Referendum process can be used to vote on emotion. Legislature should be aware of cost, risks  7:54 PM
  • #KSSOS About 160 people attending KS SOS candidate forum  7:54 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: We want to encourage people to vote, but reason for voting not important. “It largely has not been abused.”  7:55 PM
  • #KSSOS Q6: Should caucus system be replaced by presidential election? 7:56 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: It’s mostly a funding issue. Legislature decided not to hold election. Is caucus system that bad? Doesn’t think so.  7:57 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Under the law we largely leave it up to the parties. We agree on: ultimately will keep current system because of costs  7:58 PM
  • #KSSOS Q7: Good idea to vote on Internet? 7:59 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Military is experiment with Internet voting. Need balance between accessibility and security.  8:00 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: “No” to Internet voting. No way to determine identity of voter now. Hacking problems already exist.  8:02 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Has more concerns about electronic elections than at voting place. Are we giving up advance voting for an ID?  8:03 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Give people an option. KDL number on application perhaps, or photo copy of other ID. Would not leave loophole  8:04 PM

Part 5

Q8 (0:00) Let’s talk experience in management. Talk about your experience and contrast that with your opponent. Kobach (0:07), Biggs (1:59)

Q9 (3:53) What else needs to be done to streamline the Secretary of State’s Office?

Biggs (4:09), Kobach (6:06), Biggs (8:18), Kobach (9:28)

Closing Statements: Kobach (10:18), Biggs (12:36)

Live Tweets:

  • #KSSOS Q8: Experience in management? 8:04 PM  Oct 12
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Has experience with law enforcement. Has experience with INS. Would leave current staff in place. Has necessary experience.  8:06 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Has been a manager much of his life. Led by example. 3 terms as GE County DA. Managed insurance commissioner position.  8:07 PM
  • #KSSOS Q9: What else needs to be done to streamline office? 8:09 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Has just launched new web site. Technology should be tool to make office work better. Campaign reporting better.  8:10 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Balancing test of resources. Done that much of his career.  8:11 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: “Moving to the Internet is not good enough.” Many forms are not user friendly. Reduce frequency of filings if law permits.  8:12 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: This is one of the areas where we agree. Fixed some problems with new web site. Need new statutes to streamline forms.  8:14 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: “Bottom line has to be receptive to input from the public”  8:15 PM
  • #KSSOS 2 minute closing statements: Kobach: Surveys say public wants voter ID at the polls. Fringe position not to have voter ID.  8:16 PM
  • #KSSOS Kobach: Military ballots do not have local issues on them. “There’s a lot of contrast”. We take different approaches on vote fraud  8:17 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: Have taken my skills and applied them to public service. Need, open, fair, secure elections. Need good judgment.  8:18 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: “I’m a prosecutor.” I believe in enforcing law. But believe in individual’s right to vote. No unreasonable restrictions.  8:19 PM
  • #KSSOS Biggs: As Kansas SOS you’ll never see my picture in the Los Angeles Times.  8:20 PM
  • #KSSOS Kansas Secretary of State forum at OP Jewish Community Center ends.  8:20 PM Oct 12th


Contact: Earl F Glynn, earl@kansaswatchdog.org, KansasWatchdog.org