Federal judge holds Kansas elections official in contempt of court

Share

He also has the support of the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., who campaigned for Kobach late a year ago.

The ACLU recently filed a motion to hold Kobach in contempt of court for failing to follow through orders.

In 2016, Kansas put in place a policy that made thousands of people ineligible to vote because they didn't have the proper identification.

"(Kobach) was in contempt of the court order, but he also has just demonstrated this pattern of non-compliance with the federal law and disregard for the very idea that citizens have a right to participate in their democracy", said Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas. He didn't do that.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violated a court order that required his office to inform certain people that they were eligible to cast a ballot while a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring proof of USA citizenship worked its way through the courts, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson of Kansas City, Kansas, said Kobach had disobeyed her orders regarding the enjoined law, which had required proof of citizenship when people tried to register to vote. "They were not, and the fact that he sent a different notice to those voters does not wholly remove the contempt".

The case has statewide ramifications with Kobach's run for governor.

In her ruling, in which she said twice that Kobach acted "disingenuously", Robinson wrote that she found "clear and convincing evidence" that he had disobeyed the preliminary injunction.

Kobach is considered a GOP frontrunner despite his constant court battles involving voter fraud and strict voting requirements that he has pushed while in office as the state's top election official. On Wednesday, the same judge found him in contempt because he failed to update voter registration information on his website and didn't notify would-be voters about the change in their registration status.

Judge Robinson also noted that before the he was put to trial, Kobach exhausted to maintain he was not obligated to send out postcards only to later change stance, claiming he "orally" instructed his staff to do that. Kobach was also fined $1,000 in connection with the case because of what another federal judge termed a pattern of "misleading the court" in voter ID cases. Kobach's office said after the trial that it had given written orders to the county officials to send the postcards, but Robinson said on Wednesday that was "too little, too late". Secretary Kobach likes to talk about the rule of law.

But the ACLU recently charged that many voters had failed to receive the postcard; one man who has joined the lawsuit, Charles Stricker, who had been affected by the law, testified that even after the injunction he had been told that the legal issues about the right of people like himself to vote were "up in the air".

Share