Kris Kobach

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National: ‘We can’t confirm him,’ Pat Roberts warns of potential Kobach nomination for DHS | The Kansas City Star

One of the GOP senators from Kris Kobach’s home state said Tuesday that the Senate would not be able to confirm the Kansas Republican if President Donald Trump taps him for a cabinet post. Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for an array of immigration-related positions since President Donald Trump pulled his nominee for the director of Immigration Customs Enforcement and announced the departure of Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. But Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said he doesn’t believe the Republican-controlled Senate could confirm his fellow Kansan, who has gained national notoriety for championing stronger restrictions on immigration. “Don’t go there. We can’t confirm him,” Roberts whispered to The Kansas City Star when asked about Kobach Tuesday on his way into a Senate vote. “I never said that to you,” Roberts added, despite the fact that another reporter was present and The Star had not agreed to an off record conversation.

Full Article: Pat Roberts: Senate can’t confirm Kris Kobach for DHS | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Elections director: Crosscheck last used in 2017, when audit found security risks | St. John News

State elections director Bryan Caskey told lawmakers Tuesday the controversial Interstate Crosscheck program hasn’t been used since 2017, when a Homeland Security audit discovered vulnerabilities, and won’t be used this year. The program is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 945 voters whose partial Social Security numbers were exposed by Florida officials through an open records request. In an appearance before the House Elections Committee, Caskey said Secretary of State Scott Schwab has ordered a review of Crosscheck to determine whether to abandon the program all together. He also said the state could use $2 million in federal funds untouched by former Secretary Kris Kobach to gain access to an alternative. The initial cost for the Electronic Registration Information Center would be $25,000.

Full Article: Kansas elections director: Crosscheck last used in 2017, when audit found security risks - News - SJ News Online - St. John, KS - St. John, KS.

Kansas: With Kris Kobach Out Of Office, His Voting Policies Could Wither In Kansas | KMUW

Former Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach rewrote the rules for voting in Kansas. Laws he pushed for required voters to show citizenship papers to register and ID at the polls. He secured prosecutorial powers for his office. Kobach’s term only ended a couple weeks ago, but some cornerstones of his legacy are already starting to crumble. A federal court knocked down the state’s voter registration rule last summer. Interstate Crosscheck, a voter records system that Kobach said could help states maintain their voter rolls and spot double voting, is currently on hold and could be abandoned. The new secretary of state wants to take the spotlight off the office. Republican Scott Schwab was sworn in on Jan. 14 and quickly backed one significant change.

Full Article: With Kris Kobach Out Of Office, His Voting Policies Could Wither In Kansas | KMUW.

Kansas: State drops Kris Kobach’s appeal of contempt ruling, ACLU accepts $20,000 for legal fees | The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas attorney general said Tuesday the state agreed to drop former Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s appeal of a federal court judge’s contempt order in exchange for the American Civil Liberties Union accepting only $20,000 for attorney fees and expenses. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the negotiated deal reduced from $26,200 the state’s obligation to the ACLU. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson had found Kobach in contempt of court while he was serving as secretary of state in Kansas. Robinson sanctioned Kobach for failure to comply with her instructions. Mediation involving ACLU lawyers and the attorney general’s office Jan. 25 also led to dismissal of Kobach’s appeal of the contempt ruling. It didn’t alter status of the state’s appeal of Robinson’s underlying election law decision, which found Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship statute unconstitutional.

Full Article: Kansas drops Kris Kobach's appeal of contempt ruling, ACLU accepts $20,000 for legal fees - News - The Topeka Capital-Journal - Topeka, KS.

Kansas: With Kobach gone, bills target his legacy of prosecuting vote fraud | The Wichita Eagle

A big piece of Kris Kobach’s legacy appears to be on its way out as Kansas lawmakers move forward on parallel tracks to repeal the authority of the secretary of state to prosecute election crimes. The House Judiciary Committee is considering one bill to do that, introduced by Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita. The House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice is considering a slightly different version requested by Attorney General Derek Schmidt last week. Either would revoke the authority the secretary of state now has to take people to court if they violate laws related to voting. Kobach, a lawyer, fought for years to get that authority when he served in the post, finally winning the battle in 2015. He was convinced that it held the key to stop what he believed was widespread fraudulent voting by illegal immigrants.

Full Article: With Kobach gone, bills target his legacy of prosecuting vote fraud | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Kobach grand jury process to begin next week in Douglas County | Lawrence Journal-World

Grand jury proceedings to investigate former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office will begin next week in Douglas County District Court, according to the judge presiding over them. Judge Kay Huff said that the proceedings would begin in her courtroom on Jan. 22, a Tuesday, following Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public. Huff mentioned the grand jury during a hearing for a murder trial she had been scheduled to preside over this week, noting that the grand jury matter was a priority that could not be moved despite other proceedings in her courtroom.

Full Article: Kobach grand jury process to begin next week in Douglas County | News, Sports, Jobs - Lawrence Journal-World: news, information, headlines and events in Lawrence, Kansas.

Editorials: Here’s how Kansas can reverse some of the damage Kris Kobach did as secretary of state | The Kansas City Star

Kansas has a great opportunity to undo some of the damage caused by Secretary of State Kris Kobach during his two terms in office. Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Scott Schwab, the incoming secretary of state, have taken the first step. They’ve announced a proposal to end the secretary of state’s ability to prosecute voter fraud cases. Instead, the responsibility would return to local prosecutors or the attorney general’s office. “It will be more efficient for our professional prosecutors to handle voter fraud cases … than for the secretary of state to maintain separate prosecution capacity,” Schmidt said in a statement. Well, yes. It was never efficient for Kobach to have the power to prosecute voter fraud. It was a stunt, designed to enhance Kobach’s national profile for political purposes. Happily, it was a failed experiment. Kobach’s office has filed a mere handful of voter cases, mostly against Kansans who improperly voted in multiple jurisdictions. We’re pretty sure Schmidt’s prosecutors will not be overburdened with work if lawmakers return enforcement powers to the right place.

Full Article: Kansas can reverse some of Kobach’s damage to voting rights | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: State board rejects challenge to Kobach’s bid for governor | The Washington Post

An all-Republican state board on Monday rejected a liberal Kansas activist’s challenge to Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s listing as the GOP nominee for governor on the November ballot after he argued that hundreds of legal votes were not counted in the primary election. The State Objections Board concluded that Davis Hammet, of Topeka, could not show that Kobach’s narrow victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the GOP primary could be overturned by the issues Hammet raised. It also rejected Hammet’s argument that Kobach’s chief deputy should not have been involved in reviewing the challenge. Kobach defeated Colyer by 343 votes out of more than 317,000 cast. Colyer’s supporters initially raised some of the same questions Hammet did in his objection, but the governor conceded the race a week after the primary. “It is not merely that an objection has been made for one of the appropriate grounds. You also must present evidence that this election would be overturned,” said Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker, who presided over the board’s meeting.

Full Article: Kansas board rejects challenge to Kobach’s bid for governor - The Washington Post.

Kansas: Court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach | Associated Press

A grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled. The court’s one-page opinion was released Friday and offered no explanation behind the ruling, which addressed Kobach’s appeal of a lower court’s order to summon the grand jury, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The high court’s ruling stemmed from a petition first filed in 2016 by Steven Davis, a Lawrence resident who accused Kobach of intentionally choosing not to process online voter registrations and preventing qualified residents from voting in the 2016 election. The Douglas County District Court twice rejected Davis’ petition, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to support the allegations against Kobach.

Full Article: Kansas court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Kobach said voter fraud in primary was unclear. Then he won | The Kansas City Star

As uncertainty loomed about the outcome of the GOP primary for governor in the days after the Aug. 7 primary, Kris Kobach said it was unclear how many non-citizens voted in the election. Back then, the race was too close to call. But now, a week after he secured a 350-vote victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kobach is dismissing concerns that voter fraud could have changed the election’s outcome. In an Aug. 21 Breitbart column, Kobach writes that his race against Colyer “was the closest in modern history in Kansas.” But he maintains that “it is highly unlikely that voter fraud changed the outcome,” despite telling The Star during the weeklong post-election feud between him and Colyer when a winner was undecided that it was unclear how many “non-citizens” voted in the Republican primary.

Full Article: Kobach said voter fraud in primary was unclear. Then he won | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Local officials wield power as Colyer vs. Kobach undecided | The Kansas City Star

Local officials spread across Kansas’ 105 counties will exercise an incredible amount of power this week when they determine whether thousands of ballots should count in the closest primary race for governor in Kansas history. The roughly 9,000 provisional ballots, awaiting rulings from county officials across the state, will likely decide whether Gov. Jeff Colyer or Secretary of State Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP’s standard-bearer in the fall. More than 40 percent of the provisional ballots were cast in the state’s two most populous counties, Johnson and Sedgwick. The ballots have the power to swing the Kansas race in Colyer’s favor or solidify a victory for Kobach. Kobach’s role as the state’s chief election official has heightened the scrutiny of the vote-counting process in the contentious race. After a backlash this week, Kobach announced Friday that Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker will oversee the process in his stead.

Full Article: Local officials wield power as Colyer vs. Kobach undecided | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Kobach plans to recuse self from Kansas vote count process | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a cable news interview Thursday night that he plans to recuse himself from the vote tally process in the face of pressure from Gov. Jeff Colyer and mounting confusion over vote totals. Kobach said that he would recuse himself in an interview with CNN hours after Colyer had sent a letter demanding that Kobach refrain from instructing county election officials on the counting of ballots in the primary race for governor on a day when the vote total narrowed to roughly 100 votes as multiple counties reported that vote totals were incorrect.

Full Article: Kobach plans to recuse self from Kansas vote count process | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Colyer campaign claims voters ‘turned away’ on same day hundreds of new votes found | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a cable news interview Thursday night that he plans to recuse himself from the vote tally process in the face of pressure from Gov. Jeff Colyer and mounting confusion over vote totals. Kobach said that he would recuse himself in an interview with CNN hours after Colyer had sent a letter demanding that Kobach refrain from instructing county election officials on the counting of ballots in the primary race for governor on a day when the vote total narrowed to roughly 100 votes as multiple counties reported that vote totals were incorrect. “I’ll be happy to recuse myself. But as I say, it really doesn’t make any difference. My office doesn’t count the votes. The counties do,” Kobach said in an interview with host Chris Cuomo. Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr told The Star that the governor had not been notified by Kobach or his office that he intended to recuse himself. He said Coyler’s team found out about it through news reports.

Full Article: Colyer campaign: voters ‘turned away.’ Kobach to recuse self | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: No law stops Kobach from overseeing recount in his own race | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Wednesday that he has no plans to recuse himself from a recount process in the race for governor because any counting of ballots would take place at the county level. “The recount thing is done on a county level, so the secretary of state does not actually participate directly in the recount,” Kobach said at a campaign event in Topeka after initial results showed him winning by fewer than 200 votes. “The secretary of state’s office merely serves as a coordinating entity overseeing it all but not actually counting the votes,” Kobach said, contending that his role puts him at arm’s length from the actual recount. No law requires Kobach to recuse himself, but legal and political experts said that he should do so to maintain trust in the election. Kobach, the state’s top election official, led Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary by a mere 191 votes Wednesday morning after each of the state’s 105 counties had posted election returns after technical difficulties in Johnson County delayed results on election night.

Full Article: No law stops Kobach from overseeing recount in his own race | The Kansas City Star.

National: Trump’s ‘bizarre’ voter fraud panel found none, former member Matthew Dunlap says | The Washington Post

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, one of the 11 members of the commission formed by President Trump to investigate supposed voter fraud, issued a scathing rebuke of the disbanded panel on Friday, accusing Vice Chair Kris Kobach and the White House of making false statements and saying that he had concluded that the panel had been set up to try to validate the president’s baseless claims about fraudulent votes in the 2016 election. Dunlap, one of four Democrats on the panel, made the statements in a report he sent to the commission’s two leaders — Vice President Pence and Kobach, who is Kansas’s secretary of state — after reviewing more than 8,000 documents from the group’s work, which he acquired only after a legal fight despite his participation on the panel. Before it was disbanded by Trump in January, the panel had never presented any findings or evidence of widespread voter fraud. But the White House claimed at the time that it had shut down the commission despite “substantial evidence of voter fraud” due to the mounting legal challenges it faced from states. Kobach, too, spoke around that time about how “some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.” 

Full Article: Trump’s ‘bizarre’ voter fraud panel found none, former member Matthew Dunlap says - The Washington Post.

National: Trump’s voter fraud claim untrue, election official says | USA Today

There’s no proof to support President Donald Trump’s repeated claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 election, according to a member of the disbanded commission set up to examine abuse at the ballot box. Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who sat on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, wrote Friday that a review of documents shows the panel’s evidence of voter fraud is “glaringly empty.” Dunlap said the documents confirmed the commission’s “troubling bias” that assumed widespread fraud going into the review before any data had been collected.

Full Article: Donald Trump's voter fraud claim untrue, election official says.

Kansas: Judge orders Kobach to pay more than $26,000 for contempt | Associated Press

A federal judge imposed on Wednesday more than $26,000 in sanctions against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as punishment for his “contemptuous behavior” during a voting rights case that challenged the state’s proof-of-citizenship registration law. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found Kobach in contempt in April stemming from a 2016 preliminary injunction. The decision handed down Wednesday specified the amount of attorney fees and expenses awarded after considering arguments from the parties. Robinson ruled in June that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws violate the constitutional right to vote. That decision struck down the Kansas proof-of-citizenship registration law and made permanent the earlier injunction that had temporarily blocked it.

Full Article: Judge orders Kobach to pay more than $26,000 for contempt | Tri-City Herald.

Kansas: Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats | ProPublica & The Kansas City Star

Kris Kobach likes to tout his work for Valley Park, Missouri. He has boasted on cable TV about crafting and defending the town’s hardline anti-immigration ordinance. He discussed his “victory” there at length on his old radio show. He still lists it on his resume. But “victory” isn’t the word most Valley Park residents would use to describe the results of Kobach’s work. With his help, the town of 7,000 passed an ordinance in 2006 that punished employers for hiring illegal immigrants and landlords for renting to them. But after two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted. Now, it is illegal only to “knowingly” hire illegal immigrants there — something that was already illegal under federal law. The town’s attorney can’t recall a single case brought under the ordinance. “Ambulance chasing” is how Grant Young, a former mayor of Valley Park, describes Kobach’s role. Young characterized Kobach’s attitude as, “Let’s find a town that’s got some issues or pretends to have some issues, let’s drum up an immigration problem and maybe I can advance my political position, my political thinking and maybe make some money at the same time.”

Full Article: Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats — ProPublica.

Kansas: Appeal in ACLU-Kobach fight says federal voter law doesn’t pre-empt state law | The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a statement this week contending a federal judge erred in deciding the state’s voter registration law is unconstitutional in requiring new voters to prove their citizenship. The statement was filed Tuesday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. It is an initial step in an attempt by Kobach to overturn the June 18 decision of U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. The statement lists two claims as a basis for Kobach’s appeal and says other issues may be raised later for appellate judges to consider. It was filed on Kobach’s behalf by Kansas solicitor general Toby Crouse, an official in the state attorney general’s office. The 2011 voter registration law requires that people registering to vote for the first time provide documents proving U.S. citizenship. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law in a 2016 lawsuit.

Full Article: Kansas appeal in ACLU-Kobach fight says federal voter law doesn't pre-empt state law - News - The Topeka Capital-Journal - Topeka, KS.

Illinois: Despite Hacking Concerns, Governor Won’t Pull Illinois From Voter Database | Governing

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that he doesn’t see “any reason” for Illinois to end its participation in a controversial multistate voter registration system, which critics have called inaccurate and vulnerable to hackers. Rauner’s remarks came one day before he faces a deadline to act on a bill that would withdraw Illinois from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. The database is run through the Kansas secretary of state’s office and is aimed at flagging duplicate voter registrations across state lines. “I don’t see any reason why we should get out of that as a state,” the governor said at an unrelated appearance about gun control.

Full Article: Despite Hacking Concerns, Governor Won't Pull Illinois From Voter Database.