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.
With Schwab’s blessing, the Kansas House Corrections Committee voted Wednesday to take away the secretary of state’s power to prosecute voting crimes. The move would have local prosecutors and the attorney general’s office handle any such cases. Schwab, who is not a lawyer himself, noted the A.G.’s office now has a fraud division utilized by other state agencies.
… Kobach filed barely more than a dozen criminal cases related to voter fraud since he got the power to do so in 2015.
The Corrections Committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Russ Jennings, said it never made sense to grant the secretary of state prosecutorial authority because not every person to hold the office will be an attorney like Kobach. “Why would you grant authority to a non-attorney to make prosecutorial decisions?” Jennings asked. “We should unring that bell and roll it back.”