Judge orders voter suppressor Kris Kobach to explain why he should not be held in contemp

The Kansas secretary of state has continues to deny voter registrations without proof of citizenship.

ThinkProgress 2 hours 50 minutes ago

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is seen at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., Jan . 15, 2015.
CREDIT: AP Photo/John Hanna

A federal judge on Monday ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobac hto appear at a hearing where he’ll have to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for failing to register eligible voters who haven’t provided proof of citizenship.

In a hearing on Friday, the notorious voter suppressor will have to explain why he is not complying with a May court injunction requiring his state to register all eligible citizens who apply at the Department of Motor Vehicles, regardless of whether they can provide a proof of citizenship document.

Kobach has suspended or cancelled more than 30,000 would-be voters’ registrations because they were unable to provide proof of citizenship when they registered to vote at the DMV.

After the federal judge ruled against Kobach in May, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in court that he should be held in contempt for failure to comply.

“Plaintiffs now understand from statements and representations made by defendant Kobach that he does not intend to add individuals covered by the preliminary injunction to Kansas’s official voter roll,” the ACLU argued in a court filing. “The parties appear to have fundamental disagreements over what defendant Kobach must do to comply with the court’s order and with federal law.”

Kobach claims the state “is in full compliance with the district court’s order,” according to the AP.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Lawrence, Kansas resident Wayne Fish, who tried to register to vote at the DMV but was denied because he doesn’t have a passport and could not locate his birth certificate.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in February when the suit was filed that “what’s happening in Kansas is outrageous.”

“Thousands of Kansans, including military veterans who have valiantly served our country, are blocked from voting by unnecessary bureaucratic roadblocks imposed by state officials,” he told MSNBC. “These shameful actions have made Kansas an epicenter of voter suppression.”

Kobach has appealed the judge’s May order, arguing before a federal appeals court last month that Kansas has the right to put additional burdens on voters registering at the DMV.

Currently, somewhere between 18,000 to 50,000 voters are on Kobach’s purge list. Unless the appeals court rules in his favor before November, those voters will be permitted to vote in the upcoming general election.

The current lawsuit is just the latest challenging Kobach’s multi-year crusade against what he calls the problem of “voter fraud” and the potential for immigrants to illegally vote in U.S. elections. Kobach also crafted his state’s voter ID law, and he is the only secretary of state in the country with the power to prosecute voter fraud