Government & Politics

ACLU wants Kobach held in contempt, says he disregarded court order

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach File photo

The American Civil Liberties Union wants Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach held in contempt of court, arguing he disregarded a court order to register voters.

The ACLU filed court documents late Monday seeking a contempt order, or asking a judge to order Kobach to update election procedures to make clear that those seeking to register to vote in federal elections at Department of Motor Vehicle locations are exempt from a Kansas law that requires proof of citizenship to register.

The ACLU says Kobach, who is running for governor, is refusing to correct errors in his manual for local election officials and is not ensuring that voters who register at DMV sites in accordance with an earlier court order are receiving certificates of registration saying they can vote.

“These violations could be cured easily. … Yet, despite numerous efforts by Plaintiffs over the past six months to obtain Defendant’s compliance, Defendant has refused, and has stated that he will not take corrective action even if final judgment is rendered against him after trial,” an ACLU court filing says.

A Kobach spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Eagle first saw the documents just before 10 p.m.

“My objective … is to make it easy to vote but hard to cheat,” Kobach said in September. “Those are completely compatible goals.”

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The filings came in a lawsuit challenging a Kansas law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. A federal judge has already effectively suspended the requirement for individuals who want to vote in federal elections.

A judge in the case previously fined Kobach $1,000, saying he had misled the court about documents he took into a meeting with then-President-elect Donald Trump in November 2016.

A trial in the lawsuit is scheduled for March.

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman