Kris Kobach

Kris Kobach: If People Have Trouble Registering To Vote, It's Their Own Fault

Kris Kobach is the brains behind some of the most notorious voter suppression and anti-immigrant measures in the country. He also has a day job as the secretary of state of Kansas. That’s why we’ve been closely following Kobach’s attempts to implement one of the nation’s strictest voter ID law in his own state — it offers a glimpse into what voter-suppression advocates would like to see throughout the country, and what voting rights proponents fear.

This year, Kobach is implementing for the first time a law that he encouraged the state legislature to pass in 2011 that requires Kansans to present one of a narrow set of proof-of-citizenship documents (such as a birth certificate or naturalization certificate) in order to register to vote.

So far, it’s been an unqualified mess. Two weeks before the state’s primary election, 19,000 Kansas voters still have incomplete registrations. On top of that, Kobach has implemented a two-track voting system so that people who fill out a federal voter registration form but don’t provide the extra citizenship documents are allowed to vote only in federal elections. Even voters who dig up the correct documentation and follow the instructions laid out by Kobach’s office have reported problems with getting that information to elections officials.

The debacle has drawn Kobach a Republican primary challenger, Scott Morgan, who has criticized the secretary of state for the voter-registration disaster and for the large amount of time he spends working on his pet projects in other states.

Last weekend, Kobach and Morgan held a debate, at which Kobach once again repeated his philosophy that if 19,000 Kansans aren’t finished with his byzantine voter-registration process, it’s just because they’re procrastinators who don’t care enough to vote anyway.

“They aren’t being prevented from anything,” he said of the 19,000 people whose voter registrations are on hold. “They’re simply not yet completing the process.”

In the three years after Arizona passed a similar law in 2004, 30,000 people were turned away from the polls.

Judicial Watch Claims Voting Rights Suit Is Plot To Legalize Non-Citizen Voting

The right-wing group Judicial Watch has filed an amicus brief in support of Kansas and Arizona’s effort to add an extra, burdensome proof of citizenship requirement to federal voter registration forms in their states. A new law requiring citizenship documents to register has created a huge mess in Kansas, where tens of thousands of residents have been left with incomplete registrations and Secretary of State Kris Kobach has instituted a two-tiered voting system allowing some people to vote in federal elections but not state elections.

The Election Assistance Commission has been fighting Kobach’s effort to expand his law to federal forms, noting that his extra proof-of-citizenship requirement would deter far more eligible voters than the tiny number of illegal votes it would prevent. (The EAC’s filing to the Tenth Circuit notes that Kansas claims to have found 21 cases of noncitizens registering or attempting to register to vote in the state, although the EAC implies that the actual number is even lower. Meanwhile, 18,000 citizens have had their registrations suspended thanks to the new law.)

In an op-ed for Brietbart News today, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton argues that the Obama administration is fighting Kobach’s effort not because they want to protect voting rights, but as part of a sneaky plot to legalize noncitizen voting in all federal elections.

Fitton, of course, ties this to the influx of Central American children fleeing to the U.S. border, echoing Louie Gohmert’s claim that the president will encourage the refugee children to commit voter fraud. 

One of the many negative downstream consequences of illegal aliens flooding across the border is the increased possibility of voter fraud. Obama and his leftist allies are committed to thwarting any effort by states to protect the integrity of the voting process that would prevent illegal aliens and other ineligible individuals from voting.

As CIS points out, every single state in the United States legally bars non-citizens from voting in national or state elections. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, signed into law by President Clinton, made it a crime for any non-citizen to vote in a federal election.

This is a fact so basic and so well-documented, says CIS, that 94% of fourth graders tested on the question of whether or not non-citizens could vote got the question correct.

So why are leftists inside the Obama administration in the bottom 6% of a fourth grade class? It’s certainly not because they don’t understand the law. They understand it perfectly well. It’s because they don’t agree with the law, want to change it, and know they would not have a snowball’s chance in you-know-where driving that kind of legislation through Congress. So they do what they always do: Ignore the law, go to court, and hope judges allow them to get away with the lawlessness.

You also should know that the campaign to allow non-citizens to vote is a national effort that has already borne fruit. Per CIS: “there are several municipalities in the United States that currently allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. Moreover, legislation to allow non-citizens to vote has been introduced in a number of states and localities including Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City.”

Kansas and Arizona, however, were not willing to “play ball” with leftists who boldly court non-citizen voting. And that’s why they (and we) are active in court.

Yes, Kansas's Proof-Of-Citizenship Law Is Disenfranchising People

Nearly one month before the state’s August 5 primary elections, 18,000 Kansas voters are still barred from the ballot box because of incomplete paperwork under the state’s new law requiring proof of citizenship to vote.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the major player behind the passage and implementation of the new law, has consistently pushed back on criticism by claiming that “nobody’s been denied any rights” and that the thousands of Kansans with suspended registration are just “procrastinators” who haven't gotten around to producing the required birth certificate, passport  or similar document to election authorites.

Now, of course, stories are emerging that show that the thousands of Kansans caught in registration limbo aren’t just “procrastinators” and that the system that he claims is quick and easy to use is in fact leaving people behind.

This weekend, the Wichita Eagle interviewed one such voter, Michael Nucci, who had his registration suspended despite having shown up at the DMV with his passport, one of the approved proof-of-citizenship documents:

Michael Nucci, a voter who was placed in incomplete status, said he found the process difficult.

Nucci, 43, moved to Wichita from Florida in 2012 and registered to vote without any problems. But in December 2013, when Nucci moved to a new address, he went to the DMV to update his registration and brought along his passport and phone bill. A week later, he said, he received a letter telling him his registration had been suspended.

Nucci contacted the Sedgwick County Election Office and was told to send a copy of his passport.

“There’s something involved between DMV and the election office where they are not on the same system. And I think it’s ridiculous,” Nucci said. “And I didn’t send them my passport because I already brought it to the DMV both times. Why should I send them a copy of my passport again, a third time?

“I’ve had no problem (registering to vote) until I came to Kansas,” Nucci said.

Today, the Eagle reported that the daughter of Kobach’s Republican primary challenger, Scott Morgan, was in a similar position — she uploaded a picture of her passport to Kobach’s website and still was informed that her registration had been suspended. Morgan told the paper that he was afraid that such “hurdles” to voter registration would discourage young voters:

Morgan said his daughter registered online through the secretary of state’s website and that he watched her upload a picture of her passport.

“It’s all these things that the average 18-year-old is just going to say, ‘the heck with it,’ ” Morgan said. He said that the online system repeatedly froze as she went through the registration process. “And it’s just phenomenal that we think it’s okay to put these kind of hurdles in front of these people who are trying to register to vote.”

Morgan said such issues could dissuade young people from voting.

“It’s hard enough to get 18-year-olds to get excited about voting anyway. And this is the kind of thing where each one of these steps, whether it’s the browser freezing up or the cumbersome form … each one of those you lose people,” Morgan said.

Morgan said his family couldn’t help but laugh upon receiving the letter, joking that many people would think it was something he made up for the campaign. But he took a photograph of his daughter holding her letter and posted it on Facebook as proof.

“When you get it, you laugh about it, because it’s so absurd. But then the sad thing is the absurdity is the reality of what we’ve created here in Kansas to protect ourselves from something that doesn’t exist,” Morgan said.

And this isn’t even to mention the hundred or so Kansans who will be able to vote only in federal elections in August, thanks to Kobach’s new two-tiered voting system. Or voters who don't have the required proof-of-citizenship documents at all and have to go through a time-consuming process with the state elections board in order to have their voting rights restored.

But Kobach apparently sees these problems as growing pains: He warned the Eagle that Morgan and his Democratic opponent just want to “wave the white flag and give up” on his voting scheme.

Kobach: Obama Not Patriotic, 'We've Never Known Who This Guy Is'

On his radio program last month, after pointedly noting that “some people have questioned what exactly the president’s religious faith is,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said that “we’ve never known who this guy is” and agreed with a caller who said the president isn’t motivated by patriotism.

On his May 11 program on the station KCMO, while discussing the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria, who just a few days earlier the president had sent a team of American specialists to help find, Kobach took a call from a listener who — channeling Newt Gingrich — explained her theory that Obama and his allies “don’t care much about Christians getting killed…because Christianity is considered a vestige of colonialism.”

“And white European people are mostly Christian and so there’s a kneejerk, idiotic sort of reflex response,” she said, adding that the media is biased toward Obama because he is black.

“You have to wonder what goes through the president’s mind when he makes these decisions to act or not to act,” Kobach speculated later in the conversation, adding, “it could be the neocolonialism that you began your point with.”

“We’ve never known who this guy is or where his heart is” and “still don’t know what motivates” him, he continued.

When the caller responded, “Well, whatever it is, it ain’t patriotism,” Kobach agreed, saying “Yeah, that seems to be the case.”

Caller: I think that the reason he doesn’t, that Obama and the whole bunch of them don’t care much about Christians getting killed — or Jews, needless to say, I mean Israel has been not important to the Obamaites — is because Christianity is considered a vestige of colonialism, which we all know is ‘bad, bad, bad, bad, bad in every way.’ And white European people are mostly Christian and so there’s a kneejerk, idiotic sort of reflex response.

And, you know, that’s the lady who called about the conspiracy. And unfortunately, there doesn’t even need to be a conspiracy, as you said, the libs just dominate the media and nobody has to pressure them to do or say anything. I mean, that’s just literally how they feel: ‘Obama, black, equals good.’ So, you know, that’s that.

Kobach: You have to wonder what goes through the president’s mind when he makes these decisions to act or not to act, but it certainly seems…

Caller: You don’t have to wonder. It’s what the most recent polls is.

Kobach: Well, that may be. I don’t know. It could be polling, it could be the neocolonialism that you began your point with.

Caller: It all works together.

Kobach: It could be — who knows what he’s thinking. But that’s the thing, we’ve never known who this guy is or where his heart is. George Bush, for all his faults, you knew who George Bush was. He’s an open book, you didn’t have a sense that George Bush would come out with something that would surprise us. Obama, I still don’t know what motivates President Obama. It’s a strange thing. But I digress.

Caller: Well, whatever it is, it ain’t patriotism.

Kobach: Yeah, that seems to be the case.

Kris Kobach Flirts With Obama 'Secret Muslim' Conspiracy Theory

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — who doubles as an influential anti-immigrant and anti-voting-rights activist — flirted with the far-right conspiracy theory that President Obama is secretly a Muslim on his radio program last month.

Discussing the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report, Kobach claimed that the Obama administration is ignoring the persecution of Christians in many Muslim countries, an issue that he said Americans are overlooking.

“Is it because the whole issue of Islam is something that we just don’t talk about because some people have questioned what exactly the president’s religious faith is?” he asked.

“When it comes to this issue it doesn’t matter what the president’s religious beliefs are,” he added, using the classic strategy of GOP politicians who encourage the “Obama is a Muslim” myth while never quite affirming it.

Kansas Moves Ahead With Two-Tiered Voting System, Some Voters Allowed To Cast Ballots Only In Federal Elections

We reported last year on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s plan to create a two-tiered voting system in his state, in which voters who registered with a federal voter registration form but did not meet the state’s strict new citizenship documentation requirement would be allowed to cast ballots in federal elections but would be barred from participating state elections.

Kobach claimed at the time that the two-tiered system was “merely a contingency plan” in the event that he lost a lawsuit seeking to require the federal form used in Kansas to include the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirement. Kobach won that suit, but the decision has been stayed pending appeal, meaning that Kansas will go ahead with Kobach’s two-tiered system in this summer's primaries, reports the Associated Press. Arizona, which joined Kansas on the lawsuit, is implementing a similar system.

The good news is that, according to Kobach, fewer than 100 Kansans who registered with the federal form but didn’t provide the correct citizenship documentation will be the inaugural members of the new federal-elections-only voting tier. Those voters, according to the AP, "will be given full provisional ballots during the Aug. 5 primary elections — but only the votes they cast in federal races will actually be counted."

The bad news is that 18,000 Kansans who registered with the state form but couldn’t provide the correct documentation still can’t vote in either type of election.

Kobach, of course, continues to claim that “no one is disenfranchised” by his policies.

AP:

WICHITA — Kansas voters who registered using a national form without providing proof of U.S. citizenship will be given full provisional ballots during the Aug. 5 primary elections — but only the votes they cast in federal races will actually be counted, the state’s top election official said Tuesday.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach told The Associated Press that fewer than 100 Kansas voters who used the federal registration form without providing citizenship documents will be affected.

“No one is disenfranchised — any person can vote a full ballot by providing proof of citizenship,” Kobach said. “The notion a person is disenfranchised because they have to provide proof of citizenship is a silly one.”

As of Tuesday, more than 18,000 Kansans still had their voter registrations suspended pending documentation of citizenship. The vast majority used the state form to register, and they will still not be allowed to vote at all in the primary or general election unless they prove to state election officials that they are U.S. citizens.

The exception that allows the federal registrants to still vote in the August primaries for federal races comes because the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a judge’s ruling that had forced federal election officials to help Kansas and Arizona enforce their citizenship requirements.

Peas In A Pod: Ted Nugent Raising Money For 'Ass Kickin BloodBrother' Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s Republican primary opponent is criticizing Kobach for his association with Ted Nugent, the rocker whose violent and racist rants have landed other politicians who have campaigned with him in hot water.

Nugent posted a photo of himself and Kobach on Facebook on Wednesday, accompanied by a plea for his fans to donate to the reelection campaign of his “ass kickin BloodBrother” Kobach.

Nugent, unsurprisingly, praises Kobach for his work pushing anti-immigrant and voter suppression policies throughout the country, including helping to write Arizona’s infamous SB1070 and passing a widely-slammed voter-ID law in Kansas that has left thousands of voters with suspended registrations. Or, in the words of Nugent, Kobach is “taking on the America hating ObamaGang at every turn” and “leading the states’ rights movement in America.”

Kobach told the Lawrence Journal-World that the photo of him and Nugent was taken in 2011 when he “ he went to Texas one weekend and participated in a hunt of feral pigs from a helicopter” as part of his work with “Nugent and Texas officials” on “legislation that expanded the ability of hunters to kill feral hogs from helicopters.”

“The Leftists and commies are working overtime to defeat him in this year’s election,” Nugent writes. “Let’s help him reload so he can keep up the fight!” He asks his supporters to use a link for their donations that will let Kobach know "which contributions are coming from Uncle Ted's crew."

I swear to God we the people damn well better get crackin & support the few brave warriors who stand with us & the US Constitution & Bill of Rights ABSOLUTELY everytime! Kris Kobach is our ass kickin BloodBrother & on the frontlines taking on the America hating ObamaGang at every turn.

Please help Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach drop a “money bomb” on Facebook! We may not live in KS, but Kris takes our fight directly to the enemies of America everyday!

For those of you who don’t already know him, Kris is the patriot who:

1. Co-authored the Arizona illegal immigration law.

2. Is suing the federal government so that Kansas and Arizona can require newly-registered voters to prove their US citizenship.

3. Is representing the 10 ICE agents who are suing the Obama Administration because Obama is ordering them to break the law.

4. Co-authored the Kansas law that says the feds can’t regulate a gun made in Kansas, as long as that the gun never leaves the state.


In other words, Kris is a major thorn in the side of Obama. And he is leading the states’ rights movement in America. He’s also an avid hunter and backstrap BloodBrother who’s a dear pig killin friend of mine. Here’s a picture of us hunting hogs together in Texas just before we rallied to legalize helicopter pig hunting! Yes, Kris & I did that!!

The Leftists and commies are working overtime to defeat him in this year’s election. Let’s help him reload so he can keep up the fight!

This is a KILLER op to make a HUGE upgrade for America! HITIT!

Kris Kobach: Military Would 'Put Aside' Its High Standards By Admitting DREAMers

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an influential activist against voting rights and immigration reform, last week ripped into a Republican-authored proposal to allow undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children to join the military, saying that allowing DREAMers to serve would mean that the military’s “high standards will have to be put aside” to admit “lawbreakers.”

Speaking on his weekly broadcast on Kansas City’s KCMO on May 25, Kobach said of DREAMers, “This is a person who is not a U.S. citizen and whose, most likely, first act upon entering the United States was to commit a crime of entering illegally. So, this is a person we want to serve in the U.S. military? Normally, you don’t put lawbreakers into the U.S. military.”

“The U.S. military has very high standards,” he added. “I guess those high standards will have to be put aside because the political agenda of the Obama White House is to have pictures of illegal aliens serving in the military in large numbers and they don’t have those pictures now.”

Florida & Oregon Drop Out Of Kris Kobach's Faulty Voter Roll Crosscheck Program

The Miami Herald reported Friday that Florida and Oregon have dropped out of Interstate Crosscheck, the disputed voter-fraud detection service run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, with Oregon election officials citing "unreliable" data from the program.

Interstate Crosscheck’s reports in 2013 include Florida data based on the 2012 election. However, Florida is absent from the 2014 report.

We asked a spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner why Florida dropped out.

“The Department of State and Supervisors of Elections currently work with elections officials in other states to update registrations regarding residency, and we are always exploring options to improve the elections process,” Brittany Lesser said.

Oregon is another state that changed its mind about sharing its voter data with the Kansas project. Its explanation was more blunt than the one we got from Florida.

“We left because the data we received was unreliable and we felt joining the ERIC project would better meet our needs, said Tony Green, spokesman for Oregon Secretary of State.

ERIC is a project of the Pew Charitable Trust  to improve the accuracy and efficiency of state voter registration systems. States must pay to participate in ERIC while the Kansas project is free.

Voting rights opponents went into full-blown panic mode last week when North Carolina elections officials, citing data from Kobach's program, announced that 35,000 people who voted in North Carolina could have also voted in another state. That this number turned out to be completely overblown -- and that the state's top elections official urged caution in jumping to conclusions  -- did not stop Dick Morris and the Tea Party Nation from claiming that as many as a million Democrats voted twice in the 2012 elections.

via Rick Hasen​

Tea Party Nation Claims More Than A Million Democrats Voted Twice In 2012

Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips has been hard at work crunching numbers, and today announces a starting conclusion: President Obama won reelection in 2012 because more than a million people cast votes in two states.

How did Phillips reach this number?

Well, he starts with a North Carolina elections board report that it found 35,750 records of people who voted in the state whose names and birthdays matched people who had voted in other states.

North Carolina used a program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which even Kobach acknowledges produces a “significant number” of “false positives.” Officials using the program in Ohio and Colorado failed to identify a single case of fraudulent voting from the “matches” that the program produced. Even the North Carolina elections board has backtracked from its original blockbuster number, telling ThinkProgress that “we are not jumping to conclusions here.” In other words, North Carolina’s report contains no proof of any voter fraud, much less 35,000 cases of it.

But never mind the facts! Phillips then “extrapolate[s]” the North Carolina figure “out over the entire population” to guess that there “could be over one million double votes in 2012,” thereby winning President Obama the election. (Of course, in Phillips’ reckoning, all of these imaginary cases of voter fraud were perpetrated by Democrats – although they still weren’t enough to win North Carolina for the president).

“Democrats are not winning elections,” he concludes. “ They are taking them the old fashioned way. They are stealing them.”

What is the shocking secret that may explain how Obama got a second term?

A study done in North Carolina showed that 35,750 people who live and voted in North Carolina may have voted in another state in the 2012 Presidential election. The study was based on comparing the first and last names along with date of birth for people who voted in 28 other states. In 765 of those cases, social security numbers matched as well.

This number would have probably been larger but only 28 states participated and the four largest states, California, New York, Texas and Florida did not participate.

If you extrapolate this figure out over the entire population, that could be over one million double votes in 2012.

Democrats are not winning elections. They are taking them the old fashioned way. They are stealing them.

Lest we think that Phillips is just pushing a fringe argument, Kobach himself yesterday made a very similar claim, citing absolutely no evidence to claim that widows are voting “all the time” on behalf of their deceased husbands. Kobach has previously claimed that the “radical left” opposes his suppressive policies because they “feel they can benefit” from massive fraud.

And, to Phillips’ credit, his voter fraud estimate is more conservative than that of former Libertarian vice presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root, who estimates that Democrats “across the country” voted ten times each for President Obama .

UPDATE: It appears that Phillips may have gotten his conclusion from Dick Morris, who wrote an op-ed in The Hill this week making the same claim. Meanwhile, the theory is getting debunked again and again.

Kris Kobach Claims Voter Fraud Is Real Because Widows Vote For Their Late Husbands 'All The Time'

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – the mastermind behind anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation throughout the country – joined radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday at an event hosted by the anti-immigrant group FAIR, where he currently holds a top legal position.

Kobach has been on a media blitz recently defending Kansas’ strict voter ID law, which requires people registering to vote to present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, a requirement that has left tens of thousands of Kansans with incomplete registrations .

Kaufman, who is based in Florida, told Kobach, “I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands.”

“Yeah, it happens all the time,” Kobach replied, going on to explain that people who die or move out of state often stay on a state’s voter rolls.

Kobach’s conflation of out-of-date voter rolls with fraudulent voting is common among advocates of voter suppression laws. While fraudulent voting is extraordinarily rareincluding in Kansas – Kobach has used the threat of such fraud to push faulty voter roll purges in states across the country.

Kobach went on to claim that those who cite the disproportionate effect of voter ID laws on people of color are in fact themselves making a “racist argument.” “You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate?” he asked. “That’s just crazy to make that argument.”

In fact, numerous studies have shown that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority communities and are often passed in response to an increase in minority voting.

Kaufman: I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands in communities like I lived in.

Kobach: Yeah, it happens all the time. There are basically three sources of people on our voter rolls who are not supposed to be there. One is people who die and they stay on the voter rolls. The other is people who have moved out of state, but they’re on the rolls in both states. And the third is aliens, people who were never entitled to vote in the first place. And we’re trying to do something about in Kansas, but you can imagine how the folks on the left complain and say, ‘Well, you can’t do that.’ Well, yeah we can do that and we’re going to do that.

Kaufman: And it’s not bigoted.

Kobach: It’s not at all!

Kaufman: You’re not doing it to close the doors on minorities.

Kobach: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s outrageous the argument some make that it hurts minorities. It’s almost a racist argument! You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate? That’s just crazy to make that argument.

Kris Kobach Inadvertently Explains What's Wrong With Kansas' Strict Voter ID Law

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, following a federal court ruling upholding his strict requirement that people registering to vote must present a birth certificate or comparable proof of citizenship, is now hoping to peddle the law to other states. But in a conference call last night hosted by the group True The Vote, which was founded to support voter suppression laws, Kobach inadvertently explained what is so wrong with his policy, which has left 16,000 Kansans with their voter registrations suspended.

Kobach told True The Vote that he hoped that other states with voter ID laws would adopt his stricter version, and said that he had already discussed the possibility with Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. He also promised to put a generic version of the law on his personal website for activists to present to their own state legislators.

But while defending the law, Kobach made an argument that in fact illustrates what an extraordinary hurdle it may present to some voters.

“We really gave people lots of options” to prove their citizenship, Kobach boasted. He noted that there was even a “special process” for people who don’t have their birth certificate: “We created a process for that person to go before the state elections board and provide affidavit evidence and other evidence to show that they’re a US citizen. And that process has only been used twice.”

Yes, out of 16,000 people who have yet to provide the state with citizenship documentation, just two people without the proper documents have made it through the new bureaucratic hurdles to prove that they are citizens....which Kobach somehow sees as a great victory.

Later in the call, Kobach speculated that voter suppression laws helped increase the turnout in the 2012 elections because the people who are targeted by such laws actually love them. He said that he had talked to a counterpart in a southern state who told him of counties with high minority populations “where election fraud is so ingrained in the experience of voters…so when voter ID came along they had hope.”

“He believes it was the hope of a fairer election among some minority communities that had experienced fraudulent elections that drives the higher turnout,” Kobach said.

In fact, many elections experts say that high turnout among African-American voters in 2012 was driven in part by a backlash to voter suppression laws, not support for them.

Kobach Claims Voting Rights Groups Want 'Loosey-Goosey' System So They Can 'Benefit From That Fraud'

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures throughout the country, won a big victory last week when a federal court allowed Kansas and Arizona to require extra proof of citizenship from people registering to vote with federal voter registration forms.

Kansas’ strict new documentation requirement – which requires residents to produce a birth certificate, passport, or similar document in order to register to vote – has thrown the voter registrations of 16,000 people into limbo, a problem that Kobach has consistently laughed off.

In an interview with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins on Washington Watch last week, Kobach insisted that voting rights advocates on the “radical left” have “great difficulty demonstrating that it’s actually harder” to register to vote with his arcane new system. In fact, he alleged that voting rights groups “just want the loosey-goosey kind of system that allows fraud to occur because they perhaps feel they can benefit from that fraud.”

To illustrate the urgent importance of blocking tens of thousands of people from the ballot box in order to prevent noncitizens from voting, Kobach produced “a couple of recent examples” of such fraud occurring. One such “recent example” was from 1997 – or 17 years ago. The other – a tale of “50 Somali nationals” voting in a Democratic primary in Kansas city, Missouri in 2010 – never actually happened. When Kobach brought up the same anecdote in an op-ed last year, the Kansas City Star looked into it and found that a court had dismissed charges about the illegal votes, finding that “credible evidence proves that there was no voter misconduct and there was no voter fraud with regard to this election.”

Interestingly, there was proven voter fraud in that 2010 Kansas City election. One candidate’s uncle and aunt pleaded guilty for fraud for voting for their nephew even though they lived outside of his district. That fraud would not have been prevented by Kobach’s proof-of-citizenship law.

Yet, Kobach is so insistent that the “radical left” wants to use noncitizen voters to steal elections that he’s willing to put the voter registrations of tens of thousands of Kansans on hold in the name of preventing it.

Kobach: We’ve got cases going back years in this country of aliens usually being manipulated by someone who’s trying to steal an election or trying to influence an election. They’re told, ‘hey you can vote,’ they may not know that they’re breaking federal and state law, but they go ahead and register to vote.

So, I can give you a couple of recent examples in our neck of the woods. In Kansas City, Missouri, in 2010, in the Democrat primary for the state legislature, about 50 Somali nationals were registered to vote and persuaded, coached, to vote for one candidate, and that guy ended up winning by one vote.

In Kansas, in my state, in 1997, some alien employees of a meat-packing plant across the border in Oklahoma were encouraged to register to vote in Kansas to help sway a country referendum on a hog-farming operation.

Perkins: Why the opposition? Why are people opposed to this?

Kobach: Well, as you know, it comes from groups on the radical left, and they make all kinds of claims asserting that it’s going to be harder to vote or harder to register, but they have great difficulty demonstrating that it’s actually harder or statistically showing that it produces reduced turnout when in fact the opposite seems to occur, people have greater confidence in their elections when they know they’re secure.

I don’t know, I think some of these groups just want the loosey-goosey kind of system that allows fraud to occur because they perhaps feel they can benefit from that fraud.

Kobach Mocked 'Procrastinators' Disenfranchised By His Voter ID Law, Claimed 'Nobody's Rights Have Been Suspended'

Yesterday, Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach and Arizona attorney general Tom Horne scored a big victory in federal court when a Kansas district court judge ruled that federal voter registration forms in both states must require voters to show proof of citizenship.

The proof-of-citizenship requirement, which Kobach shepherded through his state’s legislature, has created a huge mess, leaving the registrations suspended of nearly 16,000 voters who hadn’t or couldn’t provide the necessary documents.

Throughout the process, Kobach has dismissed the concerns of voting rights advocates and the growing chorus of protest from elections officials, newspaper editorial boards and others in Kansas. When 12,000 voters had their registration thrown in limbo, Kobach said it wasn’t a “major problem” because it was “only a tiny percentage” of the total voting population. (By contrast, the supposed reason for the law was to prevent a handful of fraudulent votes cast over a dozen years). When it was announced that only 72 percent of registered voters were able to meet the new requirement, Kobach boasted that “that’s actually an extraordinarily high percentage” and blamed “procrastination” for the 28 percent without complete registrations.

In a speech that Kobach gave in January to the Kansas Sovereignty Coalition, a Tenth Amendment group, Kobach mocked the Kansans – then totalling 19,000 – whose voter registrations were in limbo as "the 28 percent procrastinators," claiming that “nobody’s been denied any rights.”

“Nobody’s rights have been suspended,” he claimed. “Those 19,000 people haven’t completed their registration yet. They can complete it tomorrow and vote tomorrow if they want to. Nobody’s been denied any rights, they just haven’t finished it yet.”

“Oh and by the way, 72 percent of the people who have registered to vote since January 1, 2013, have completed their application and have sent in proof of citizenship. So those are the 28 percent procrastinators.”

“We should not get alarmed at all by the number that the left continually throws around,” he said.

Tellingly, when Kobach first mentions “voting rights,” and audience member loudly corrects him: “privilege, privilege.”

The Cost Of Being Kris Kobach’s Guinea Pig

Yesterday, Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach suffered a double setback when the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals of decisions striking down two local anti-immigrant ordinances that Kobach had written and shepherded through the courts. Now, both towns are facing the possibility of paying legal fees for opponents on top of years of legal costs that they had already incurred.

Kobach was behind an ordinance in Farmers Branch, Texas, that required people to prove they were in the country legally in order to rent a home and one in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, that would have penalized people who rent to or employ undocumented immigrants. Both ordinances were struck down by federal courts, and neither town succeeded in appealing those decisions to the Supreme Court.

In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that Farmers Branch, a town of 29,000 people, had already spent $6 million defending the law since it was first passed in 2006, and expected to pay $2 million in legal fees for its opponents if it lost in the courts. The town has already been forced to cut back in other areas of its budget in order to keep up with the costs of defending the ordinance, despite a $500,000 contribution from real estate heir Trammell Crow.

Meanwhile, Hazleton reported last year that it had spent nearly $500,000 on legal fees since 2006, financed mostly from donations from an online fundraising campaign, along with a $50,000 gift from Crow. But the Hazleton Standard Speaker reports today that the city’s legal defense fund has dried up and it’s facing the possibility of paying millions of dollars in legal fees for civil rights groups that challenged the law. The town of 25,000 faces these costs on top of a pension fund deficit of over $28 million.

Even Kobach-backed ordinances that fare better in the courts can still present huge costs for cities that take up his anti-immigrant crusade. Residents of Fremont, Nebraska, voted last month to keep a similar Kobach-written anti-immigrant ordinance after it was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Since the ordinance was first passed in 2010, the town raised its property taxes in order to set aside $1.5 million to pay legal fees and implementation costs; the town also risks losing millions of dollars in future federal grants.

While Kobach uses small cities to push his anti-immigrant experiments, those cities are forced to foot the bill as they work through the courts. The cities sometimes even pay for Kobach's services. The Southern Poverty Law Center noted in 2011 that "Kobach has said that he normally charges about $50,000 a year to defend his ordinances against legal challenges. He described that rate as under market and said he wants to ensure 'the cities can afford it.'"

States that push Kobach's harsh anti-immigrant laws have also faced enormous costs. Arizona spent millions of dollars defending SB1070 before it was ultimately largely struck down by the Supreme Court, and lost an estimated $23 million in tax revenue and $350 in direct spending from a resulting economic boycott.

Kobach’s home state is hardly immune from this either – state election officials are now facing the possibility of having to set up a dual elections system in which 15,000 voters caught up in Kobach’s voter ID plan will be allowed to vote only in federal elections – a costly bureaucratic nightmare.

UPDATED: Anti-Immigrant Group Pushes Draconian Nebraska Ordinance

Updated

Activists fighting to keep a draconian anti-immigrant ordinance in a Nebraska town reportedly have called in the big guns: the Nativist group FAIR.

In 2010, voters in Fremont, Nebraska passed an ordinance barring landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants and requiring employers to check new employee’s immigration status. (The employment provision exempted the town’s largest employers, two meatpacking plants just outside of city limits.) Behind the law was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has made a name for himself by peddling anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures to communities across the country.

Last summer, a federal appeals court upheld the law but a city councilmember has introduced a ballot referendum to repeal parts of it. This has angered proponents of the law, who have set up a group called “Our Vote Should Count” and gathered support from the national nativist group FAIR (a former Kobach employer), according to the Fremont Tribune :

Our Vote Should Count enlisted the help of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Tea Party Patriots, True The Vote, and other national organizations, including a Washington, D.C.-based analyst and an Omaha media consultant, to put together a media campaign that will use social media, print media, flyers and canvassing to get out their message.

UPDATE: The Fremont Tribune reported that the group True the Vote was involved in the Fremont initiative. True the Vote tells us that they had no involvement in the measure and are seeking a retraction from the Tribune. We have removed True the Vote from our our story.

UPDATE 2: The Fremont Tribune reports that Our Vote Should Count was in contact with local organizers at FAIR and True the Vote, which may not have come to the attention of the national groups:

“In assembling facts and data,” Von Behren replied in an email to the Tribune, “we met individually with representatives of Tea Party Patriots, True The Vote and (the Federation for American Immigration Reform). Each provided varying levels of support, including data access, technical support, data analysis and general knowledge of the issues from their experience. It's correct that the national office of True The Vote may not have known about local conversations. I would expect the same of (Tea Party Patriots) or FAIR.

“The information provided was all publicly available, but much easier to find with help from someone who works in that area. Neither of the other two organizations raised a concern so we assumed that was the normal function of a local representative,” Von Behren wrote.

Supporters of the Fremont ordinance don’t exactly hide that they are motivated by suspicion of the town’s growing Hispanic population – whether documented or not. One Vote Should count shared this graphic on its Facebook page, which warns that “Fremont is a sanctuary city” because its “Hispanic population TRIPLED! in 10 years”:

In November, Harpers author Ted Genoways visited a town meeting about the ordinance and found racial tensions running high, as one woman railed against “Spanish in my schools” and a Latina resident, a third-generation American, recalled a man screaming at her to “go back to Mexico.”

An Our Vote Should Count spokesman, after warning of the increase in the “non-white population” in local schools, told the Fremont Tribune that the real racists were undocumented immigrants:

Enforcing the ordinance is not about targeting a race, he said.

“There are two levels of racism here. One is a set of racists who will use illegal people for their own profit, and that is being done actively. The other racism is people who knowingly break the law to come here for their own profit,” he said.

 

Kobach Still Struggling To Clean Up Kansas Voter Registration Mess

A strict proof-of-citizenship requirement for Kansas voters pushed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach has now suspended the voting rights of over 19,000 Kansans who were unable to provide a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship to election officials, and Kobach continues to struggle to clean up the mess the law has made.

In his latest attempt to fix the problem, Kobach has arranged with another state agency to start checking the names of voters in limbo against birth certificate records to confirm voters’ citizenship.

The problem? The birth certificate search will only find voters born in Kansas, and it may not catch people, such as married women, who have changed their names. The Kansas City Star interviewed Kobach, who explained that he was simply practicing “good government” and providing an “extra service”:

The state’s vital statistics office will compare lists of would-be voters to its records. Kobach’s office would be notified when matches are confirmed. The procedure will be followed in the future as Kansans register to vote.

“This, in my view, is good government,” Kobach said.

But critics were quick to point out that Kobach’s idea could pose constitutional problems because it treats voters born in Kansas differently from voters born elsewhere.

It also raises questions about how women might be treated. Many change their names after getting married and might not be matched with birth records kept by the state.

“That is not actually going to work,” said Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.

Kobach said provisions will be made for women. He said the state health department tracks name changes and those records will be matched against the voting records.

Kobach, however, conceded that prospective voters born in Kansas will benefit more than voters born in another state.

He said there are many examples throughout government where people might have an advantage because of their age, marital status or residence.

“It’s an extra service but it’s not something that would amount to a violation of equal protection of law,” he said.

This is only Kobach’s latest attempt to clean up the mess that his law has created. Along with Arizona, he has sued the federal government to allow Kansas to require proof of citizenship with the federal voter registration form. He has said that if he loses that case he’ll move to set up a two-tiered voting system in the state in which those who register with the federal form without additional proof of citizenship are barred from voting in state elections.

Kobach Uncovers Massive Voter Fraud…In 1855

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has  been getting absolutely creamed by the state press for his proposal to create a two-tiered voting system if his lawsuit against the federal government to make voter registration more difficult fails.

Now, he’s fighting back.

In an op-ed published on the website of KSAL this week, Kobach claims that his efforts to require a “proof of citizenship” document to register to vote – which has put the registration of 17,000 Kansans into limbo and instigated the two-tier plan —is necessary because of “rampant voter fraud”… in Kansas’ first territorial election in 1855.

The integrity of elections has been a crucial concern of Kansans since the birth of our state. More than any other state, Kansas was born in an atmosphere of rampant voter fraud. Our first territorial legislative election saw 4,908 fraudulent votes cast (mostly by Missourians). In the ensuing years, many Kansans put themselves at great risk in order to safeguard the integrity of elections.

Recognizing the need to protect the fairness of elections, the Kansas (Wyandotte) Constitution, adopted in 1859, provided that every Kansas voter must be a United States citizen to cast a legal ballot. The Kansas Constitution also states that the Kansas legislature shall provide for “proper proofs,” or evidence, of the right to vote. It was that authority that the Kansas Legislature exercised during the 2011 legislative session, when it enacted the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, which I drafted.

In 1855, about 5,000 pro-slavery Missourians, known as “border ruffians,” streamed over the border to Kansas in a successful effort to elect a pro-slavery legislature (abolitionists had previously organized thousands of northerners to settle the new territory in an attempt to make it a free state). These border ruffians were involved in all sorts of mischief, including violence, intimidation and literal ballot-box stuffing, beginning a bloody pre-Civil War conflict.  This is an interesting history lesson, but not exactly relevant to today’s elections.

But it wasn’t just an anomalous period in the nineteenth century that saw voter fraud, Kobach says. He disputes an editorial that contends that he has found “only a handful of voter fraud cases,” saying that in fact he presented 221 fraud cases to the state legislature in 2011.

First, the editorial board claimed that “when Kobach originally proposed the state’s voter ID law,” “[t]here were only a handful of voter fraud cases.” That is false. The number of cases of voter fraud presented to the Legislature in 2011 was 221. That’s many more than a handful – and those are only the cases that we know about. The actual number is likely much higher.

The forms of voter fraud included everything from voting in the same election in two different states, to fraudulently requesting another person’s mail-in ballot, to impersonating another voter at the polls, to fraudulently voting an elderly person’s ballot at a nursing home and forging the person’s signature. These are serious criminal acts that threaten the integrity of our elections.

In fact, that collection of 221 cases of alleged voter fraud took place over a period of thirteen years, averaging 17 cases a year. When the Wichita Eagle looked into the cases Kobach had listed, they found that many did not amount to voter fraud at all. In one case, Kobach claimed that a dead man had voted; the man, very much alive, disputed that fact. The paper found that other cases Kobach counted were “honest mistakes” with no intent to defraud.

Ultimately, only seven of the 211 cases resulted in convictions

Meanwhile, Kobach’s plan to prevent the epidemic of seven cases of voter fraud over 13 years has suspended the voting rights of 17,000 people and now may result in a bureaucratic nightmare in which some Kansans are allowed to vote only in federal elections and some are still not allowed to vote at all.

But Kobach claims that in proposing a two-tiered voting system to “fix” the mess that his proof of citizenship requirement has made, he is actually “doing the opposite.”

Kobach claims that it is actually the courts that are at fault for Kansas' voting system crisis because they have required states to accept the federal "motor voter" registration form, which requires voters to affirm their citizenship under penalty of perjury but doesn't require extra documentation. Confident he’ll win his lawsuit to add extra restrictions to the federal form in Kansas and Arizona, he insists that he is actually trying “to avoid having two categories of voters.”

In fact I am doing the opposite. Under my leadership, Kansas and Arizona have joined forces to sue the federal government’s Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to change the federal mail voter registration form so that proof of citizenship can be requested from those Kansans who use the form, as Kansas law requires. We are suing in order to avoid the two-categories-of-voters-plan that the editorial board criticizes.

The suit is necessary because, this past summer, the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council said that states must “accept and use” the federal mail voter registration form to register voters for federal elections. As it is currently written, the federal form for Kansas doesn’t require proof of citizenship. (The state form, which more than 99% of voters use, does require proof of citizenship.)

The way to avoid having two categories of voters is for Kansas and Arizona to bring such a lawsuit and win. The good news is that the Supreme Court specifically suggested this lawsuit in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council. So there is a very high probability that we will win.
 

Kobach Moving Forward With Plan to Create Two Classes of Voters in Kansas

Back in August, we reported that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was considering a novel voter suppression idea. Kobach has been struggling to implement a new law that he backed requiring voters to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote. As a result of the law, over 17,000 Kansans who registered to vote using a federal form (which doesn’t require proof of citizenship) or used a state form but couldn’t dig up a birth certificate have had their voter registration suspended.

Kobach said that this mass disenfranchisement wasn't a “major problem,” but he did have a proposal to deal with it: Create two classes of voters, some who are allowed to vote only in federal elections and others who are allowed to vote in both state and federal elections.

Now, the Wichita Eagle reports, Kobach is moving ahead with his plan. The Eagle obtained a July 31 memo from Kobach’s office to county elections officials instructing them to track which voter registration applicants apply using a federal form and which submit an acceptable proof of citizenship.

The Eagle explains that if the plan moves forward, Kansas voters will be sorted into three categories, each with separate voting rights. Those who provide proof of citizenship with either a state or federal form will be allowed to vote in all elections. Those who register with a federal form and don't provide supplemental citizenship proof will be allowed to vote just in federal elections. Meanwhile, Kansans who use the state voter registration form but don’t provide proof of citizenship will remain unable to vote at all. 

Kobach claims that this byzantine scheme is just a “contingency plan” in case he fails in suing the federal government to add extra requirements to federal voter registration forms used in Kansas.

Kobach… confirmed he’s planning for elections with different ballots for different voters, depending on whether they register under federal or state rules. He said it’s “merely a contingency plan” in case he loses a lawsuit seeking to make federal officials adopt Kansas rules for voters in Kansas.

The plan creates three classes of registered voters, according to the Legislative Research report provided to Ward on Thursday:

  • Voters using either the federal or Kansas form and providing state-required documents proving their citizenship would be able to vote in all federal, state and local elections.
  • Voters who use the federal form but don’t provide citizenship documents will be allowed to vote only for candidates running for president, vice president and Congress.
  • Registrants who file a Kansas form but don’t provide citizenship documents will be put in suspension and won’t be allowed to vote in any election.

Unsurprisingly, this plan is already causing a headache among county elections officials, reports the Eagle:

Sherman County Clerk Janet Rumpel...said she has asked the Secretary of State’s Office for clarification on whether she would have to prepare two sets of ballots for primary and general elections every two years on the chance somebody files a federal registration form – which she has never actually seen.

“It would be a nightmare for us,” she said.

But, as usual, Kobach seems unfazed.

The Eagle reports that “sidewalk and door-to-door registration drives ground to a halt” when the proof-of-citizenship requirement came into effect, “because of the impracticality of getting the needed documents to complete the process.” Democratic state representative Jim Ward recounted a discussion he had with Kobach about the difficulty of holding voter registration drives under the new law. Kobach reportedly replied that people holding voter registration drives should just “carry a copy machine" with them:

Ward said it’s Kobach who’s doing voters a disservice by demanding documents that most people don’t have close at hand and that Congress and the Supreme Court says they don’t have to provide.

He said he once asked Kobach how to collect the documents in a registration drive and Kobach’s response was “carry a copy machine with you.”

“It was a snarky response, but I think it tells you his attitude toward the right to vote,” Ward said.
 

Kobach’s Latest Plan to Keep 15,000 Kansans From Voting: Sue the Federal Government

Kansas secretary of state and national voter suppression advocate Kris Kobach has been struggling in recent months to implement a new “proof of citizenship” voter registration requirement that he pushed into law. But now he has a new plan: sue the federal government to make it harder to register to vote with a federal form in his state.

Like a similar Arizona law that was recently struck down by the Supreme Court, Kansas’ law requires those registering to vote to produce documented proof of citizenship beyond the sworn oath required on federal voter registration forms. This has produced an administrative nightmare in Kansas, throwing the voting status of at least 15,000 people who registered with the federal form into limbo.

Kobach’s first plan to fix this was to force the thousands of Kansans who had registered with the federal form to cast provisional ballots in the next election, which would then only count if they showed up later at an elections office armed with a birth certificate or other citizenship document. The state board of elections rejected the plan, which one Republican state senator called “disingenuous at best.”

Kobach then got creative, suggesting that Kansas create two classes of voters, with those who register with the federal form only allowed to vote in federal elections. Voting rights advocates balked.

Now, Kobach has a new plan. Along with Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Kobach is suing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to require the federal government to add extra “proof of citizenship” requirements to federal voter registration forms in the two states. Andy Marso at the Topeka Capital-Journal sums up the scheme:

Facing the possibility of legal action over 15,000-plus suspended voter registrations, Secretary of State Kris Kobach struck back by announcing Wednesday his own suit against a federal election commission.

Kobach said at a news conference that he and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, both Republicans, have filed a complaint against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission asking that federal voter registration forms issued to residents of their states include state-specific proof of citizenship requirements like the ones on state forms largely responsible for putting thousands of Kansas registrations on hold.

Kobach said the court case is "the first of its kind."

Kansas voters will be best served when the EAC amends the Kansas-specific instructions on the Federal Form to include submitting concrete evidence of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote," Kobach said.

Kobach said the lawsuit would partially preempt a suit being prepared but he American Civil Liberties Union over the suspended registrations.

“It does block many of the arguments the ACLU might wish to raise,” Kobach said.

Kobach explains that he is answering the “invitation” that Justice Antonin Scalia left in his opinion in the Arizona case, in which the justice suggested that Arizona try such a move.

Kobach and the ACLU have disagreed on much when it comes to voting laws, but both he and Bonney said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., invited a lawsuit.

"This lawsuit is pursuant to Scalia's invitation," Kobach said.

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