Editorial Summary: Kansas


Kansas City Star. August 20, 2022.

Editorial: Surrender, Mark Gietzen. You Can’t Donald Trump Get Out of Kansas Abortion Vote

From the moment it was proposed, it was clear that the manual recount of the Kansas abortion amendment vote had no chance of changing the outcome. It was a waste of money and time for county officials, as we and many others said at the time. So it’s no surprise that now that it’s over, virtually nothing has changed in the landslide victory for abortion rights.

From the start, the only possible benefit was that perhaps all the work of manually counting tens of thousands of votes would discourage the equally controversial and destructive claims about the November vote.

political cartoons

That’s probably wishful thinking, though, now that one of the two anti-abortion activists behind the pointless recount has already said he wants a recount of the recount.

How absurd. Mark Gietzen, a Wichita businessman who leads the Kansas Coalition for Life and a far-right group known as the Kansas Republican Assembly, said he plans to sue the state to force them to count the ballots again, thanks to a counting delay over the weekend in Sedgwick County, one of nine in which votes were recounted.

Contesting the vote in an election that was decided by 59% to 41% of voters amid an unusually high turnout was questionable. Doing it a second time is, honestly, laughable.

After the recount was completed in all nine counties, less than 100 votes had changed in some way. That’s a tiny fraction – less than a tenth of 1% – of the 922,000 votes cast by Kansans in the August referendum.

Instead of highlighting trouble spots in our electoral system, the recount proved otherwise. “It shows that the process is working.” said Rick Piepho, clerk and chief electoral officer for Harvey County, where the recount resulted in just five mis-scored votes.

No system is perfect. And county election officials tell us that manual counters found a few errors that voting machines didn’t — like when a voter marked their vote with a check mark rather than completely darkening in the space next to the chosen answer.

The result of the recount is “proof that the machines are safe and accurate,” said Crawford County Elections Commissioner Lisa Lusker. “I hope this will give voters another level of security in the upcoming election.”

For most voters, yes. But for deniers? Unlikely.

It is no coincidence that voter fraud hysteria has become a roar in the years following Joe Biden’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s refusal to accept this defeat fueled unfounded fears of voter fraud in the United States. Kansas supporters have now seized on that narrative to question even an election as lopsided as the Aug. 2 vote.

That Gietzen now says he will sue if the state doesn’t count the ballots again – arguing that the extra day Sedgwick County took to certify its ballots amounted to a violation of open meeting laws of the state – is positive proof that his beef is not t with the Kansas voting system.

His beef is with how voters in his state responded to the question. They want to keep the right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution. He wishes they wouldn’t.

And apparently he’ll keep telling Kansas officials to keep counting the ballots, until the results tell a different story. It’s like typing the same numbers into a calculator over and over again hoping for a different answer. It’s ridiculous.

This is also what a bad loser looks like.

Topeka Capital Journal. August 19, 2022.

Editorial: Rise in Child Sexual Abuse Reported by Kansas Abortion Providers Shouldn’t Have Come as a Surprise

The shocking increase in child sexual abuse cases reported by Kansas abortion providers must be addressed by our policymakers.

But lawmakers can’t tackle what they don’t know is a problem.

Jason Tidd of the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the statistics were recently compiled by the Kansas Department of Children and Families, which is responsible for issuing a mandatory annual abuse report under state law. However, he hadn’t for the past six years until Tidd asked him about it.

“The Brownback administration stopped publishing these reports in 2016,” DCF spokesman Mike Deines said. ” We do not know why. Once we were notified, we updated the requested data for the missing years to ensure that the public record is complete. Additionally, moving forward, we have procedures in place to ensure that this information is published in accordance with KSA 65-445(g).

This concerns us. We don’t know why the Brownback administration chose to stop doing the mandatory reporting — and frankly, at this point, it’s too late to worry about that. That being said, he should have been spotted and dealt with earlier in the Kelly administration.

While we can all see where and why many see Brownback as the state boogeyman, it’s a little late in Go. Kelly’s mandate for his department heads to pass the buck on this issue.

Tidd reports that Kansas abortion providers have reported more than 100 cases of child sexual abuse to state child protection officials over the past six years. In the last fiscal year alone, abortion providers reported 56 victims of child sexual abuse to the Kansas Department of Children and Families.

A child was 8 years old. Another was 9 years old, although the report does not directly confirm that the patients were pregnant and had abortions. The agency’s six years of reports on abortion providers include several preadolescent victims: one 3-year-old, one 8-year-old, two 9-year-olds, two 11-year-olds and four 12-year-olds. .

These statistics are sobering.

Could the state have done something to prevent some of these unspeakable acts? We will never know, because we were never informed. Our political decision-makers cannot do anything about these situations if they are not informed of the problem.

Rep. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, made a wise observation: “Gosh, this makes me wonder what other reports we’re not getting,” she said. “The goal when I pushed for this oversight committee was to hear this stuff.”

Hopefully this information will be readily available – and put into practice – in the months and years to come.

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