Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has submitted documents outlining proposed policies he shared with President Donald Trump to a federal magistrate judge for review.
Judge James O’Hara of the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., will determine whether the documents have any relevancy to a pending lawsuit against Kobach’s office that seeks to overturn the state’s proof-of-citizenship policy, which requires prospective voters to present a birth certificate or passport before they can register to vote.
Kobach’s office confirmed Thursday afternoon that it submitted the documents for the judge’s private review that morning, complying with a 5 p.m. deadline. If the judge rules that the documents are relevant to the case, then it will create the possibility they’ll be disclosed to plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Kobach was photographed carrying a stack of papers outlining a strategic plan for the Department of Homeland Security when he met with Trump in November. The photograph showed that Kobach’s plans included a reference to voter rolls.
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Plaintiffs’ attorneys are seeking access to the documents and proposed changes to the National Voter Registration Act, which they say Kobach has crafted, as part of the discovery process in the lawsuit.
Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s voting rights project, said Wednesday that if Kobach sought changes to the voter registration act to enable states to require proof of citizenship, it would amount to admission that he is not permitted to do so under current federal law.
Mark Johnson, a Kansas City attorney on the plaintiffs’ team, said that even if the judge rules the documents are relevant to the case, Kobach could try other arguments, such as executive privilege, to keep them sealed.