Who's afraid of a little election fraud?

What do Saddam Hussein, Sen. Al Franken, Hamid Karzai, Gov. Christine Gregoire, George W. Bush, Hugo Chavez, Huey Long, John F. Kennedy and Hosni Mubarak all have in common? Read on.

The Kansas City Star, a McClatchy newspaper, has issues with Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State. The origin of The Star's displeasure is Kobach's involvement in drafting SB 1070, the Arizona law that gives police the latitude to ask folks for ID. Most of America thinks SB 1070 is perfectly reasonable, but not The Kansas City Star.

One way The Star gets its message out is by running leftwing letters to the editor. One recent gem came from one Ascension Hernandez: "SB 1070 will create felons of people who cannot become citizens legally because the U.S. immigration system is broken."

"Create felons"? Totally false, but that doesn't deter The Star from running the letter.

The Star is really miffed now, because readers ignored the paper's advice and elected Kris Kobach the new Kansas Secretary of State. The Star rarely endorses a Republican for office, and made no exception for Kobach. The Star is outraged by Kobach's first initiative, the Secure and Fair Elections Act, which got its first hearing on Jan. 31.

In an editorial on Jan. 19, The Star did make some valid points in urging rejection of Kobach's proposal. But when The Star's editorialist refers to voter fraud as "rare transgressions" and when Mike Hendricks (in his Jan. 20 column) piles on by referring to voter fraud as a "phony issue" and as a "myth," they're out of their depth.

That's because no one knows the extent of voter fraud in America, and therefore no one can demonstrate what an election's correct vote counts are. There are a host of reasons why this is so, but one big reason is that only one state in the union requires proof of citizenship to register to vote -- the much maligned Arizona.

With so many recent elections being decided by the smallest of margins, even tiny amounts of election fraud can tilt an election. In 2008, the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota was decided by 312 votes out of 2.9 million, a margin of a hundredth of a hundredth. That slim edge gave Democrats their 60-vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which allowed them to saddle America with something we didn't want: ObamaCare. If even the tiniest amounts of election fraud can so change America, shouldn't The Kansas City Star be more concerned about it?

What binds the illustrious group in the opening sentence is that they all came by their offices in elections that were in doubt; that is, elections suspected of having been stolen. Nothing is more corrosive to a democracy than such doubt and suspicion. Even so, The Star has pooh-poohed the problem of election fraud for years.

Election victories all around the world are suspected of having been stolen, and that includes America. In the coverage of the on-going riots in Egypt, for instance, the media reports that Mubarak's 30-year reign is due to election theft. But there are no means to prove what the correct vote counts were in those Egyptian elections.

I've always appreciated the way that Sec. Kobach acquits himself on television. He's appeared several times on Fox News Channel. He is mannerly, well informed, and reveres the law. So The Star's continuing campaign against him is unfortunate. This is especially so when The Star offers no alternative solutions. I just did.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.
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