In a great victory for up to 50,000 Kansans, Kris Kobach capitulated late Tuesday after suffering his latest stinging legal defeat on voter ID issues. The Republican secretary of state finally provided instructions to election officials across the state on their duty to register at least 18,000 Kansans whose eligibility for federal elections had been suspended. Most of them are under 30, likely to skew Democratic in the ballot booth. Many more could be registered before the November elections, up to 50,000 total people according to state officials. Kobach had pushed through a law that required people registering at motor vehicle offices to provide citizenship documentation before they could be considered fully eligible to vote. However, a federal judge had ruled this violated federal laws. And the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied Kobach’s plea that it override the judge’s order that registration of voters needed to start by June 15.
Notably, Kobach had whined to the Appeals Court that complying with the judge’s order to actually register thousands of people this close to an election would be extremely hard to do. Judges properly ignored that specious reasoning from the guy who caused the problem in the first place.
Now check out what the election commissioner for Johnson County said Tuesday. “I don’t think it will be an insurmountable issue,” said Ronnie Metsker. “It is mostly ‘tell us what we are to do and we will do it and we will do it in a timely fashion.’”
Good for Metsker. It’s the kind of proactive leadership Kansans deserve to see from publicly paid officials who are responsible for making it easier for eligible citizens to vote. Kobach, unfortunately, is not in that camp.