Judge Slams Kansas' Kobach Over Moves in Voting Case

Secretary of state in contempt for keeping some voters in the dark about casting ballots
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2018 5:56 AM CDT
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.   (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

(Newser) – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violated a court order that required his office to inform certain people they were eligible to vote while a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring proof of US citizenship worked its way through the courts, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. US District Judge Julie Robinson found Kobach, a conservative Republican running for Kansas governor, in contempt of court. She did not fine Kobach but ordered him to pay court costs, including attorney fees for the American Civil Liberties Union, which sought the contempt ruling. Moriah Day, a spokeswoman for Kobach's campaign for governor, said the secretary of state's office would appeal the decision and would have no other comment, per the AP.

The ACLU sought the contempt ruling after Kobach refused to update his office's website or ensure that county officials sent postcards to residents who registered at drivers' licensing offices without providing citizenship documents. The postcards contain basic voting information such as a voter's polling place. "The judge found that Kris Kobach disobeyed the court's orders by failing to provide registered voters with consistent information," says the ACLU. The decision revolves around a law in Kansas that went into effect in 2013 and is now being challenged, notes NPR. It requires that voters show some kind of document proving they are US citizens, but critics say it unfairly prevents thousands of people from voting simply because they don't have such documents. (Kobach helped lead President Trump's commission on voter fraud.)


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