Editorial: Kobach touts increasing workload of state employees while not filling positions in Breitbart article

In a piece published Thursday on Breitbard, titled “The Opportunity of a Generation to Shrink Government Through Attrition,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach touts increasing the workload of state employees while not filling positions as they come open. (File photograph/The Associated Press)

What does Kris Kobach want?


Is the Kansas secretary of state interested in bringing more state residents into the voting process? Does he want to eliminate any trace of voter fraud? Or does he have his eyes fixed on his political future, possibly as the governor of this state?

According to a recent story from the Associated Press, Kobach clearly isn’t interested in the first option. The state discarded three times as many ballots as its peers in last year’s election. It tossed an astonishing 13,717 votes — more than Florida.

If Kobach is interested instead in ferreting out fraud, one might question his limited success thus far in tracking down the multitudes in this state who are supposedly voting illegally. Thus far, he boasts of obtaining nine convictions in a state with some 1.8 million registered voters.

As for the third possibility, Kobach’s gubernatorial campaign should provide a simple answer.

A column Kobach published Thursday at the ultra-conservative website Breitbart — known for being run by former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon — might provide some clues to the contradictions on display.

In the piece, titled “The Opportunity of a Generation to Shrink Government Through Attrition,” Kobach touts increasing the workload of state employees while not filling positions as they come open.

In a key paragraph, the secretary of state writes: “Over the course of six years, I was able to shrink my agency’s workforce by 18 percent. We did it through natural attrition, without massive layoffs. The smaller payroll, along with other cuts, also allowed me to reduce agency spending by over 30 percent. And the agency is still carrying out all of the same responsibilities that it was back in 2011.”


While bureaucracy deserves a suspicious eye, one wonders if a more fully staffed office might have either made it easier for more Kansans to have their votes counted, or at least uncovered further cases of voter fraud for Kobach to prosecute.

Indeed, his trumpeting of a simple numerical drop in the employee population suggests less interest in seeing government work than seeing it fall short. After all, if Kansas government is unable to perform basic functions, an ambitious conservative politician can then argue that it should do even less.

Kansans have seen the results of that ideology in the two terms of outgoing governor Sam Brownback. While sympathetic to the goals of saving money and lowering taxes, they ultimately voted for representatives who overturned Brownback’s trademark government-starving tax cuts.

Voters will want to view Kobach’s recent pronouncements — and the recent outcomes from his office — with similar skepticism.



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