The head of President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission drafted a law as a Kansas official that led to 23 disabled people not having their votes counted in a recent local election. The disenfranchisement occurred in Sedgwick County and was a direct result of a law pushed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s voter fraud commission, which requires disabled voters’ signatures on their ballot envelopes. Until Kobach’s Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act passed in 2011, ballots were not tossed if a disabled person’s signature did not exactly match one on file or if someone else signed on behalf of a physically unable voter. As a result, 23 unsigned ballots from disabled people were tossed in a local election where only 24,120 votes were cast according to deputy elections commissioner Laura Bianco. Some of the races in the county were decided by far fewer than 23 votes.
“If you’re a person with quadriplegia or a senior and don’t have the same ability to mark a ballot as you did when you were younger,” the ballot would be thrown out, Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, told Newsweek. “It’s really a problem for people with disabilities. We need to get it fixed.”
Jim Howell, a member of the Sedgwick County Commission, which acts as the board of canvassers, said he believes it is an “unintended consequence” of the law.
Despite the result, Howell actually voted for the SAFE Act while on the state legislature, he told Newsweek.