For a public employee with a full-time job, Kris Kobach has an enviable amount of free time. Elected Kansas secretary of state in 2010, he traveled the country advising right-wing politicians on the best ways to chase undocumented immigrants from their states. After the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, Kobach kept his day job in Kansas while leading Trump’s voter-fraud commission, a political Hindenburg that self-combusted in January after having conspicuously compiled no evidence whatsoever to justify its existence. This week, Kobach, who is frequently away from his office running for governor, is in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, where he has opted to represent his office in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the League of Women Voters and individuals.
The suit claims that the stringent requirements of the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections Act, which requires voters to show specifically designated proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, in order to register to vote, violates the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which says states may only require the “minimum amount of information necessary” to assess whether someone is eligible to vote.
A witness in the case Tuesday described bureaucratic hurdles and snafus that plagued his efforts to vote after he moved from Chicago to Wichita in 2014.
Kobach asked the witness, Charles Stricker, why he couldn’t just take his birth certificate to the local election office during his lunch hour and thereby comply with the law. That must have seemed a natural sort of question for Kobach, whose job appears to impose few, if any, actual requirements. But Stricker, who works at a hotel, said that he frequently works 12-hour days and eats lunch at his desk.