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 U.S. citizenship worked its way through the courts, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. 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.
The ACLU sought the contempt ruling after Kobach refused to update the state’s election guide or ensure that county officials sent postcards to residents who registered at driver 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, that he willfully failed to ensure that county elections officials were properly trained, and that he has a ‘history of noncompliance and disrespect for the court’s decisions,’” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement Wednesday. “Secretary Kobach likes to talk about the rule of law. Talk is cheap, and his actions speak louder than his words.”