Leader On Trump's Voter Fraud Panel Held In Contempt Of Court

Kobach assured the judge he would send postcards about polling stations to affected voters but never did.


Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was just held in contempt of court after failing to comply with a court ruling in a voter fraud case.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said Kobach didn't comply with her orders in a 2016 case when she told him to allow people to vote who had signed up, despite them being unable to present a birth certificate.

The judge’s decision affected 18,000 people whose registration would have been void had Kobach been successful in stopping people from voting without showing proof of identity.

Kobach assured Robinson he would get the voters registered and send postcards to any affected voters but the postcards with polling station information were never sent. The plaintiff argued Kobach’s failure to send the postcards resulted in confusion.

The ACLU recently filed a motion to hold Kobach in contempt of court for failing to follow orders. He also did not update the county election manual, which informed voters of the court’s ruling regarding the voter-proof law, which asked for “Documentary Proof of Citizenship (DPOC).”

Robinson’s ruling ordered Kobach to pay for the attorney’s fees for the litigation of the motion.

“The Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for contempt and awards them reasonable attorney fees expended litigating this motion. Any further remedies shall be deferred until after the Court issues its post-trial findings of fact and conclusions of law,” wrote Robinson.

Kansas’ DPOC law was put into effect by Kobach in 2013, and later put on hold by Robinson’s preliminary injunction in 2016 after the ALCU and several voters effected by this law filed a suit claiming DPOC violated a 1993 federal law called the National Voter Registration Act. The act required motor vehicle agencies to allow people to register to vote with minimal information provided.

Kobach defended his DPOC law, claiming it restricted non-citizens from voting in Kansas, curbing voter fraud. However, he was only able to provide 129 such cases. ACLU claimed the law “unnecessary.”

Kobach’s spokesperson said the secretary of state’s office will appeal the court’s contempt ruling.

Robinson’s ruling directly targeted Kobach, who peculiarly chose to represent himself in court and embarrassed himself when the judge had to explain basic legal procedure to him during the trial. She said Kobach is disrespectful to the court with his non-compliance to court rulings. He was fined $1,000 by the court for making misleading statements.

Kobach was Donald Trump’s pick for a voter-fraud commission, which was unceremoniously disbanded this year. 

Dale Ho, the ACLU’s top voting rights lawyer who fought the case against Kobach, said the Kansas gubernatorial candidate talks a big game but when it comes to abiding laws, his actions speak louder than words.

“The judge found that Kris Kobach disobeyed the court’s orders by failing to provide registered voters with consistent information, that he willfully failed to ensure that county elections officials were properly trained, and that he has a ‘history of noncompliance and disrespect for the court’s decisions. Secretary Kobach likes to talk about the rule of law. Talk is cheap, and his actions speak louder than his word,” he said.

Robinson also noted that before the trial, Kobach tried to maintain he was not obligated to send out postcards, only to later change his stance, claiming he “orally” instructed his staff to do that. He also claimed it was not his fault his staff failed to send out the postcards.

Robinson dismissed the argument, saying it was his responsibility to make sure the court’s orders were followed through.

Robinson has yet to make a final ruling on the DPOC case, which is expected later this year.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

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