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.
Kobach’s laser-like focus on illegal immigration and voting fraud vaulted him to national prominence with frequent appearances on network cable TV and an appointment as an advisor to President Trump.
But Kobach is now out of state government after deciding not to seek re-election and losing the November governor race to Laura Kelly.
In the 3½ years since Kobach was given the authority, his office prosecuted between 10 and 15 cases of voting fraud.