Appealing or alarming for voters?
If Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants to be known as the gubernatorial candidate who won’t be told by courts and judges what to do, then he seems to be succeeding in that regard.
Kobach did not prove the need for the state’s vote-suppressing proof of citizenship requirement in the two-week trial that ended on Monday, but he did apparently manage to exhaust the patience of the federal judge who heard the case.
Maybe that’s because he does not seem to have shown a good-faith effort to comply with the judge’s past order to treat voters who have not provided proof of citizenship the same as other registered voters until she rules.
“I’ve had to police this over and over and over again,” U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, told Kobach during a contempt hearing in Kansas City, Kan., yesterday. “I made it clear, they’re fully registered voters.
It’s up to Robinson to decide whether to hold Kobach in contempt for not doing anything to let them know that. If pounding on her desk signaled a contempt finding is likely, Kobach could be in trouble, according to a report in The Kansas City Star.
Who knows, though. This just might be part of Kobach’s plan on how to become the next Kansas governor.
Judge Robinson will also rule on the larger issue of the validity of the law, and whether the thousands of Kansans who’ve tried to register without proof of citizenship can vote this fall.
Kobach, a Republican who has advised President Donald Trump on voter fraud and is running for governor this year, has insisted that millions of illegal votes cost Trump the popular vote in 2016. There is no evidence to back up that claim, either, by the way.
Kobach estimates that some 18,000 non-citizens are already registered to vote in Kansas. But he can definitely point to only 129 non-citizens who either registered or tried to register in the last 19 years.
He always calls these cases “the tip of the iceberg,” while Dale Ho, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, calls the sum of the evidence “more of an ice cube.”
To justify the Kansas law, Kobach has to prove that there is “substantial” non-citizen voting.
Kobach argues that because a single vote can change the outcome of an election, even one non-citizen participating in the process should be considered substantial.
Judge Robinson’s repeated warnings to Kobach’s team throughout the course of the trial also raised questions about his lawyering.
“We’re not going to have a trial by ambush here,’’ the judge told Kobach after he tried to introduce evidence that had not been shared with plaintiffs. “That’s not how trials are conducted.”
However Judge Robinson rules, Kobach’s supporters will thank him for doing just what he has done to fight the almost entirely imagined scourge of voter fraud.
And at the polls in August, Republican primary voters will also get to show whether that’s their priority, too.
The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered the State of Kansas lawmakers – that’s the State Legislature and the governor – to return the state to a fair, adequate and equitable formula in its responsibility as the primary funding source for the state’s public schools.
The State Legislature recently paid about $200,000 of state taxpayer funds for a study to determine what it would take for the state to rebound from the Gov. Brownback era and return to adequately funding the state’s public schools.
The study concluded that state funding for public schools in Kansas should be increased to between $1.7 billion and $2 billion at this time.
The state’s next governor will either follow the Supreme’s Court’s judgements, work to strike a compromise, or disregard the court’s judgments all together.
Based on what we’ve seen from Kobach over the years, he’s not what we’d call a follower of rules so much as he is a new rule maker.