Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump must be still wallowing in the fact he lost the popular vote in November. He’s going to make damn sure it doesn’t happen again. He’s enlisted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (who is also the architect of the most racist law in modern American history) to come up with creative ways to “protect the vote” from anyone who doesn’t fit the Republican voter profile. He successfully did this in Kansas, preventing a staggering 1 in 7 people who registered to vote from actually casting a ballot in an election:
BERMAN: I really think this is Kris Kobach’s commission. Even though he’s the vice chair of the commission, I think he’ll be the driving force behind it. He became secretary of state of Kansas after the 2010 election. And Kansas put in place one of the toughest voting laws, if not the toughest voting law in the country. It not only required strict voter ID, but it required proof of citizenship to register to vote. So if you try to register to vote in Kansas, you need to provide your passport, your birth certificate or your naturalization papers.
Now, about 7 percent of Americans don’t have access to those documents, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, but a much larger percentage don’t carry their passport or their birth certificate or their naturalization papers around when they’re going to register to vote. So what we’ve seen in Kansas is that 1 in 7 people who tried to register to vote after this law went into effect in 2013 had their registrations held in what was called in suspense by the state of Kansas. They were not able to register to vote.
In 2015, Kris Kobach attempted to purge nearly 40,000 voters from registered voter rolls. Here’s a partial history of his voter suppression tactics in Kansas. And you’ll note, this fiscal conservative has all the taxpayer money in the world to waste on lawsuits he’s lost time and time again:
– Aug. 2, 2013: Kobach and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett file a federal lawsuit seeking to force the EAC to grant their requests to add proof-of-citizenship requirements to the federal voter registration form used by residents in their states. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren orders the EAC to add the proof of citizenship requirement to the federal form, but his ruling is quickly blocked by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
–Aug. 5, 2014: Kobach institutes a two-tiered voting system in the Kansas primary election that counts only ballots cast in federal races – and not those in state and local contests – from voters who registered using a national form.
– Nov. 7, 2014: The 10th Circuit rules Kansas and Arizona residents can register to vote using a federal form without having to provide proof of citizenship, rejecting the states’ arguments that the EAC has a duty to grant their requests to change the federal form.
– June 29, 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Kobach’s appeal seeking to force the EAC to change its federal registration form for Kansas and Arizona residents.
–Sept. 2, 2015: As the number of prospective voters on the Kansas suspension list grows to more than 35,000, an administrative rule proposed by Kobach allows election officials to purge registration applications older than 90 days.
That’s right. Nearly 40,000 Kansans were placed on a suspended voter list. To put that in perspective, in 2014, Republican Governor Sam Brownback beat Democrat Paul Davis by 33,052 votes. Kris Kobach has dreamed of taking this nationwide and his man Donald Trump has given him the freedom to pursue it.
And here they go! With the help of Vice President Mike Pence, Kobach sent a letter to all 50 secretary of states in the nation (seen below). Kobach ordered each state to turn a jaw-dropping amount of information on every single registered voter in the nation:
In addition, in order for the Commission to fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting, I am requesting that you provide to the Commission the publicly available voter roll data for Connecticut, including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available,addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.
Only last week, Kris Kobach was ordered by a federal judge to pay a fine for his “patently misleading representations” in a voting rights case in Kansas:
The Republican state official tapped by President Trump to lead his sketchy voter fraud commission was sanctioned by a federal judge Friday for his “deceptive conduct and lack of candor” in a voting rights case brought against him.
Kansas Secretary of Kris Kobach will have to pay the court a $1,000 fine as punishment for “patently misleading representations” during the litigation over the proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement Kobach is seeking to implement in his state.
An organization called the Lawyers Committee is quick to put out a video calling the Kobach commission a “sham” and urged state election officials not to cooperate with “this commission’s dangerous activities.”
You can read his full letter below, but this is a nationwide 5-alarm voter suppression fire. Kris Kobach, Mike Pence and Donald Trump and the entire Republican machine are going to pull out all the stops to keep people from voting in 2018, 2020 and beyond. We have to fight this with everything we have. Connecticut Secretary of State is already resisting, noting Kobach’s history of disenfranchising voters:
Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, said in a statement that her office plans to share “publicly-available information with the Kobach Commission while ensuring that the privacy of voters is honored by withholding protected data.”
“In the same spirit of transparency, we will request that the Commission share any memos, meeting minutes or additional information as state officials have not been told precisely what the Commission is looking for,” she said. “This lack of openness is all the more concerning, considering that the Vice Chair of the Commission, Kris Kobach, has a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas.”
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla publicly said hell no: