Lawyers presented closing arguments on Monday in the trial of a legal challenge to a Kansas law requiring proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, with opponents calling the statute illegal and supporters deeming it necessary to fight voter fraud. The seven-day, non-jury trial in Kansas City drew to a conclusion as U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said she was taking the case under submission and would not render a decision for at least a month. The Kansas law, which took effect in 2013, requires individuals to present a U.S. passport, birth certificate or other proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Several other Republican-led state legislatures have enacted similar measures in recent years.
Kansas: Voting trial over. One more court day, a contempt hearing, ahead for Kobach | The Kansas City Star
A federal judge will decide whether thousands can vote in Kansas this fall after the conclusion of a two-week trial that saw a leading candidate for governor scolded and scrutinized. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican candidate for governor, led the legal team defending the state’s proof of citizenship requirement, a policy he crafted, against a pair of federal lawsuits. The case will have national implications because Kobach has previously advised President Donald Trump on voter fraud and remains in contact with his administration. The trial wrapped up Monday evening, but Kobach still faces a contempt hearing Tuesday. Kobach’s office has pointed to 129 non-citizens that it says either registered or attempted to register over nearly two decades, but he has repeatedly said this number could be “the tip of the iceberg” and has offered estimates that as many as 18,000 are on the state’s voter rolls.
The modern American crusade against voter fraud has always been propelled by faith. That is, an insistent belief in things unseen — things like voters who show up at the polls pretending to be someone else, or noncitizens who try to register and vote illegally. Fraud like this is so rare as to be almost unmeasurable, and yet its specter has led to dozens of strict new laws around the country. Passed in the name of electoral integrity, the laws, which usually require voters to present photo IDs at the polls or provide proof of citizenship to register, make voting harder, if not impossible, for tens of thousands of people — disproportionately minorities and others who tend to vote Democratic. The high priest of this faith-based movement is Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate who has been preaching his gospel of deception to Republican lawmakers for years. He has won plenty of converts, even though he has failed to identify more than a tiny handful of possible cases of fraud. In his eight years as secretary of state, he has secured a total of nine convictions, only one of which was for illegal voting by a noncitizen; most were for double-voting by older Republican men.
Georgia: Bill cuts down on voting hours despite Democrats’ opposition | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A bill advancing in the Georgia Legislature would reduce voting hours in the city of Atlanta and limit early voting on Sundays.
The legislation would force Atlanta’s polls to close at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. and allow voting in advance of Election Day on only one Saturday or Sunday. The House Governmental Affairs Committee approved the legislation, Senate Bill 363, on Wednesday. The committee’s five Democrats opposed the bill, while the committee’s majority Republicans all supported it, though a hand count of “yes” votes wasn’t taken. The bill was filed by Republican Sen. Matt Brass after Democratic Sen. Jen Jordan won a special election in December to represent a district that covers parts of Atlanta and Cobb County. Voting in Cobb County ended at 7 p.m., an hour earlier than in Atlanta.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants Americans to believe that voter fraud is such a pervasive problem that it could even explain how Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. It’s one thing to point out that the overwhelming majority of political experts disagree with his assertion; even his own expert, however, won’t back up his claim. During a trial over Kansas’ restrictive voter registration law, political scientist Jesse Richman was unable to support many of his claims as he was interrogated by two lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. Richman was testifying as an expert witness for Kobach, who has pointed to Richman’s work in order to back up his own theories about voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election.
Kansas: Kobach witness can’t support claim that illegal votes helped Hillary Clinton | Topeka Capital Journal
Jesse Richman endured a blistering critique Tuesday of his estimate of 18,000 noncitizen voters in Kansas and said he couldn’t support claims by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because more than 3 million illegal ballots were cast in the 2016 presidential election. Richman, who teaches political science at Old Dominion University, testified as an expert witness for Kobach in a trial over the state’s voter registration law. Kobach, who is seeking the GOP nomination in this year’s governor’s race, has referred to the 18,000 figure as the best available estimate for showing proof of citizenship is needed to address widespread voter fraud. American Civil Liberties Union attorneys took aim at shortcomings in Richman’s methods and presented two experts to refute his conclusions. Varying estimates from Richman are based on small-sample surveys, including one in which six of 37 noncitizens said they tried to register to vote. Under questioning by ACLU attorney Dale Ho, Richman acknowledged he had no way of knowing if those six were successful in their efforts.
Kris Kobach used as an expert witness in a voting rights trial Friday a controversial scholar who wanted to block Democrats and mainstream Republicans from serving on a presidential commission. Hans von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who has written a book on voter fraud, testified in support of a Kansas law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship. It was the fourth day of the federal trial in Kansas City, Kan. Von Spakovsky contended that other methods of identifying non-citizens on the voter rolls, such as comparing the voter rolls against the list of driver’s licenses for legal immigrants, are insufficient because they would not be able to identify illegal immigrants. He also said that the threat of prosecution for voter fraud does not do enough to deter non-citizen voting “because we basically have an honor system” in U.S. elections.
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.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the ACLU fought at a trial Tuesday over a law that could affect whether thousands of Kansans will be able to vote this fall. The outcome will affect people like Charles Stricker, a manager at the Ambassador Hotel in Wichita who was the first witness. Stricker thought he had registered to vote in 2014 when he signed up at a DMV, but it turns out he wasn’t. He hadn’t provided proof of citizenship as required by a 2013 Kansas law. The ACLU has sued in federal court to permanently block the law, saying it is unconstitutional and has denied thousands of Kansans the ability to vote.
A federal judge rebuked Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Thursday after his team tried to introduce data that has not been shared with plaintiffs’ attorneys into a trial. Kobach, a Republican candidate for governor, is handling his own defense with the help of two staff attorneys in the lawsuit against a Kansas law that requires prospective voters to provide proof of citizenship in order to register. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has repeatedly warned Kobach’s team about trying to introduce evidence that has not been shared with the plaintiffs during the first three days of the high stakes trial, which will determine whether thousands can vote in Kansas this November.