April 2, 2014

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Felfies? Introducing the Relfie.

Back in January I learned about the newest and coolest version of the selfie . . . the "Farmer Selfie" or "felfie." Apparently, all you have to do is take a photograph of yourself with some variety of animal generally associated with a farm.

I don't care to be outdone by some farmer, so allow me to introduce the "reflie" or "Rancher Selfie." 
Heh. What a good bit of fun. You can view more felfies (and a few relfies) by visiting @Willwilson100's website, farmingselfie.com.

March 9, 2014

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Kansas Secretaries of State, 1861 to 2014

One last table for now - A complete list of Kansas Secretaries of State from 1861 to 2014.  This table does not include secretaries during our state's territorial years, but I know you're super interested nonetheless.  Here they are: Daniel Woodson (1854-57), Frederick P. Stanton (1857), James W. Denver (1857-1858), Hugh Sleight Walsh (1858-1860), and George M. Beebe (1860-1861).

Since 1861, Kansas has had only two Democratic secretaries of state, and of them, only one was elected: Larry Ryan, 49-51.  Chris Biggs was appointed by Gov. Mark Parkinson (D) in March of 2010.  Republican candidate for the office, J.R. Claeys said:
The people of Kansas are looking for someone with business experience and a passion for elections as our next Secretary of State - not a politician using the office as a stepping-stone or given the office by another political appointee. ( Koranda, 2010, n.p.)
Claey's would later lose the Republican primary to current Secretary Kris Kobach.  Interestingly, Kansans may have gotten exactly what Claey's had warned us about in Kobach: a politician without any business experience; a politician interested in using the office as stepping stone; and a politician lacking passion for elections. Of course, what constitutes satisfactory experience in these areas often depends on subjective assessment. 


Color denotes political party. See note for citation.



References

Koranda, J. (2010, March 17). Parkinson names Biggs as Secretary of State. The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved from http://www.kansas.com

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Kansas Secretary of State Election Totals By County, 2010 General


This chart is a complete county-by-county turnout for the 2010 Secretary of State race in Kansas. You'll notice Kris Kobach won all but 5 counties. Despite the apparent landslide, this table really doesn't bode well for Republicans moving forward. The undervote is massive and Kobach, as noted here, lost his party 67,882 check marks. That's not good. This particular table does not contain information on third/fourth party candidates, as they had no major statistical or rhetorical impact on this particular race.  See the reference for more information.  Click the title to view more.

March 7, 2014

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Kansas Secretary of State Elections from 1986 to 2010

Its been quite a while since I last posted anything on this blog, but don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it.

The 2014 Secretary of State election in Kansas is gearing up to be quite a race.  For you political junkies out there, here's a table I compiled and jacked from my own writing on the KS SOS office containing election information dating back to 1986.  It's pretty interesting.  Especially Sec. Kris Kobach's loss of 67,882 voters for the Republican Party (#ConservativeBaller) and the massive occurrence of 274,545 undervotes.



An "undervote" is defined here as a decision by an individual to cast a ballot but refrain from indicating support for a particular candidate in a particular office (Lott, 2009).  In 2010, 274,545 Kansans took time out of their schedules to show up at the local poll, wait in line, show ID, cast a ballot, and yet failed to indicate a choice for an Executive Branch position.  There are all sorts of possible explanations for this, and I have a few well-supported opinions, but we need not get into them right now.  Instead, just enjoy some numbers. 



References

Biggs, C. (2010b). 2010 general election official turnout [Excel]. Topeka: Kansas Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/10elec/2010GeneralElectionVoterOfficialTurnout.xls

Kansas voter registration on decline. (1986, July 3). The Courtland Journal. Retrieved
from http://news.google.com/archivesearch

Lott, J. R. (2009). Non-voted ballots, the cost of voting, and race. Public Choice, 138, 171-197. Retrieved from http://0www.jstor.org.topekalibraries.info/stable/40270837

Thornburgh, R. (1990). 1990 Kansas General Election results (download county by county totals - all races) [Excel]. Topeka: Kansas Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/elmpast/90genral.exe

Thornburgh, R. (1994). 1994 General Election official turnout [Excel]. Topeka, KS: Kansas Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/elmpast/1994_General_Election_Official_Turnout.xls

Thornburgh, R. (1998). 1998 Kansas General Election results (all but judicial offices).
Topeka: Kansas Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/98elec/98elm/98gen1.html

Thornburgh, R. (2002). 2002 General Election official turnout [PDF]. Topeka: Kansas
Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/02elec/2002GeneralOfficialTurnout.pdf

Thornburgh, R. (2006a). 2006 General Election official turnout [Excel]. Topeka: Kansas
Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/06elec/2006GeneralOfficialTurnout.xls

May 15, 2013

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Guns and the Kansas Constitution

Issues surrounding the question of firearms have been swooshing around the country recently in the form of a failed gun bill in the Senate, and more entertainingly, Kansas' legally questionable Second Amendment Protection Act, Attorney General Eric Holder's letter to Governor Brownback, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach's apparently independent, certainly unprecedented, and almost polemic response.

Whatever you think of the matter, you might enjoy reading a bit about Kansas' somewhat unusual constitutional provision concerning the right to bear arms as selected from Francis Heller's (1992) The Kansas State Constitution: A Reference Guide:
Bear arms; armies.  The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
    This section, like some others in the Kansas and other state constitutions, is cast in affirmative terms ("[t]he people have the right") as against the negative phrasing ("the right of the people . . . shall not be infringed") in the Second Amendment (and others) to the federal Constitution.  It is also noteworthy that, differing from the language of the Second Amendment, the Kansas constitution does not tie the right to bear arms to the existence of a militia.  On the other hand, the Kansas court has held that the wording "[t]he people have the right" means that the right is collectively held and not one enjoyed by the individual.  Hence, a prohibition of the promiscuous carrying of arms does not violate this section (Salina v. Blaksley, 1905; City of Junction City v. Lee, 1975).
    The result appears to be that the individual owner or prospective owner of firearms may enjoy less protection under the state constitution than is accorded by the present [1990's] interpretation of the federal constitution. (50-1)
If you'd like to read more, I certainly encourage you to find a copy of  it.  Heller does an almost brilliant job of expressing "how state constitutional history can illuminate changes in political thought and practice, providing a basis for theories about the dynamics of political change in America." (Tarr, 1992, foreword to The Kansas State Constitution, xvii).  This work should be considered mandatory reading for any student with an interest in our State's legal and/or political history.

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