“Bills target Kobach’s voter fraud legacy; 3 1/2 years, no illegal immigrants caught”

Wichita Eagle: A big piece of Kris Kobach’s legacy appears to be on its way out as Kansas lawmakers move forward on parallel tracks to repeal the authority of the secretary of state to prosecute election crimes. The House Judiciary Committee is considering one bill to do that, introduced by Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita. The House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice is considering a slightly different version requested by Attorney…

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Kobach: “Trump ally who served on voter integrity panel expresses concern about fraud in North Carolina”

WaPo: Kris Kobach, an ally of President Trump who served on a voter integrity panel, expressed worry Thursday that Republican fraud might have tainted a North Carolina congressional election, becoming one of the most prominent members of the GOP to publicly express alarm about the race. “Based on what I have read, I am very concerned that voter fraud did occur,” Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, said in a telephone interview with The…

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Tokaji: A Grand Election Bargain That Everyone Should Support

In collaboration with Take Care, Election Law Blog is pleased to present a series of posts offering thoughts on legislation to reform the U.S. electoral process. Election reform is back on Congress’s agenda.  Having won control of the U.S. House, Democratic leaders have said that their first item of business will be a bill that removes obstacles to voting and otherwise improves the electoral process.   H.R. 1 would reportedly include…

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“Midterm Voters Significantly Expanded The Right To Vote”

HuffPost: Voting rights were on the ballot in the midterm elections on Tuesday, and voters sent a resoundingly clear message in favor of making elections more accessible and fairer. After Tuesday’s election, approximately 1.4 million people with felony convictions in Florida will regain the right to vote. It will be much easier for people in Michigan to vote. Nevadans will be automatically registered when they conduct business with the state…

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The EAC is MIA on Election Cybersecurity, and We Can Blame Kobach’s Former Underling, Brian Newby, and EAC Commissioner Christy McCormick, Who Served on Trump’s “Fraud” Commission

Devastating for an agency that’s had such promise, from Jessica Huseman: One of the EAC’s commissioners has dismissed the threat of foreign governments undermining American elections in private meetings with state election officials, and often personally appealed to individual officials not to waste their time on the idea that election systems might be vulnerable to outside meddling. The election officials assert that the EAC’s executive…

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“Lack of proof aside, Kris Kobach can’t stop talking about voter fraud in Kansas governor’s race”

WaPo: He’s brushed aside the state’s woeful financial straits. He’s dismissed concerns that driving in parades with a machine-gun replica mounted on his Jeep might come off as offensive. Instead, in an audacious performance that mimics President Trump more than anyone else, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach at every campaign stop touts his biggest achievement, a strict citizenship law for voters — that no longer exists. Kobach has…

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Kansas Voting Official Responds “LOL” to ACLU Request to Publicize Voter Help Line for Dodge City Voters

Wichita Eagle: After the ACLU objected to Dodge City’s single, out-of-town polling place, the local official in charge of elections forwarded to the state an ACLU letter asking her to publicize a voter help line. “LOL,” she wrote in an email to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office. As Election Day approaches, concerns are being raised in Kansas over voting rights and access to the polls. The movement and elimination of some polling…

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“Meet The Kansas Woman Who Exposed Security Flaws In Kris Kobach’s Voter Fraud Tool”

…KCUR: Come in and sit down at Anita Parsa’s kitchen table. Help yourself to the chocolate chip cookies and she’ll get you an iced tea. Might as well make yourself comfortable. Because for the next hour, she’s going to school you on a massive voter-tracking program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. “I like to figure out puzzles,” Parsa says. “I like to crack things, and that’s what this is all about.”…

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“Showdown in Georgia Governor’s Race Reflects a Larger Fight Over Voting Rights”

NYT: The Georgia race highlights the national transformation of the office of secretary of state since the disputed 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Once a low-visibility, uncontroversial job, focused on administering voting laws in a nonpartisan way, secretaries of state in many places have become politicized. This year, two of the most activist-minded Republican secretaries of state are running for governor: Mr. Kemp of…

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“Ross Admits Bannon Put Him In Touch With Kobach To Talk Census Citizenship Question”

TPM: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross admitted Thursday in ongoing litigation that then-White House adviser Steve Bannon called him in the spring of 2017 to put him in touch with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to discuss adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Ross’ admission is contrary to previous testimony he gave to Congress in which he said he was not aware of being contacted by anyone in the White House about adding a…

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The North Carolina subpoenas get even more disturbing

Looks like the North Carolina US Attorney’s Office also subpoenaed the state DMV.  The subpoena is here.  Among the other information sought: DMV voter registration documents (including from citizens) for individuals not born in the US and documents (including from citizens) completed in a language other than English. So you can add, to the serious problems of overbreadth, some increasingly disturbing constitutional issues as well. And if HSI…

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“Kansas court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach”

…AP: A grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled. The court’s one-page opinion was released Friday and offered no explanation behind the ruling, which addressed Kobach’s appeal of a lower court’s order to summon the grand jury, the Lawrence Journal-World reported ….

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“Data collected by Trump’s Kobach-led voter fraud commission is ‘entirely deleted’”

KC Star: Nearly eight months after President Donald Trump disbanded his election integrity commission because it was tangled up in lawsuits over its request for voters’ personal data, the information has been destroyed and the cases have been dismissed. Trump’s administration notified plaintiffs in one lawsuit against the commission Wednesday that personal voter data requested by the commission once led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

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But of Course Dep’t: “Kobach once said voter fraud in primary was unclear. In victory, he dismisses it”

…KC Star: As uncertainty loomed about the outcome of the GOP primary for governor in the days after the Aug. 7 primary, Kris Kobach said it was unclear how many non-citizens voted in the election. Back then, the race was too close to call. But now, a week after securing a 350-vote victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kobach is dismissing concerns that voter fraud could have changed the election’s outcome….

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Dodging an Election Administration Bullet, “Colyer concedes, handing Kobach the Republican nomination for Kansas governor”

Wichita Eagle: Secretary of State Kris Kobach won the Republican nomination for Kansas governor Tuesday after Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded following a week of stunning twists in the razor-thin contest. The concession came after Kobach widened his lead to more than 300 votes with the counting of provisional ballots in Johnson and Sedgwick counties. Johnson County had been seen as a bulwark in Colyer’s effort to overtake Kobach. Colyer conceded in…

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“Kansas Is Living in the Mess Kris Kobach Made”

Mark Joseph Stern for Slate: It has never been clear whether Kris Kobach understands what his job is. As Kansas’ secretary of state, a position he’s held for nearly eight years, Kobach’s main responsibility is to serve as the state’s chief elections officer. But instead of ensuring that Kansas’ elections run smoothly, Kobach has used his office to foment nativist hysteria around the nonexistent problem of voter fraud, attempting…

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“Accusations of Voter Fraud Can Hurt Republicans, Too”

Frank Wilkinson for Bloomberg View: At any point in the past decade, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer could’ve said something. When Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was engineering ways to suppress votes, and repeating false claims about voter fraud, Colyer could’ve piped up. Colyer could’ve pointed out that Kobach, his opponent in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary, has never produced evidence to back his shameless claims. He…

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Kansas: “Johnson County accepts nearly 1,500 new ballots, including from unaffiliated voters”

Wichita Eagle: Johnson County will accept nearly 1,500 provisional ballots either in full or in part, including dozens cast by unaffiliated voters who were incorrectly told by poll workers to cast provisional ballots. The ballots could tip the balance in the GOP primary for governor. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer were separated by a mere 110 votes going into Monday. The Johnson County Board of Canvassers voted…

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Today’s Must Read: Kansas Ballot Counting Issues Echo Florida 2000

KC Star: Local officials spread across Kansas’ 105 counties will exercise an incredible amount of power this week when they determine whether thousands of ballots should count in the closest primary race for governor in Kansas history. The roughly 9,000 provisional ballots, awaiting rulings from county officials across the state, will likely decide whether Gov. Jeff Colyer or Secretary of State Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP’s standard-bearer…

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“Kansas governor accuses Kobach of not counting all votes in governor race”

The Hill: Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) accused Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) on Friday of intentionally pushing a miscount of the number of ballots cast in the gubernatorial primary race. “Secretary Kobach’s office was instructing counties not to count ballots that are in the mail, and those clearly have to be counted under Kansas law,” Colyer said in a Fox News interview. The governor also expressed concern over the counting of provisional…

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Kobach Hands Kansas Governor Recall Responsibilities to His Deputy, Who Has Donated to His Campaign, and Not to Election Professional

KC Star: Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker will take over Kobach’s duties and will serve on the State Board of Canvassers, which will certify the final election results. Rucker donated $1,000 to Kobach’s campaign last fall, according to campaign finance records…. Rucker was a top aide to former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline. Rucker found himself under scrutiny by an attorney disciplinary panel in 2010 that had looked into how…

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Kobach Says He’s Going to Recuse Himself—Let’s See If/How That Happens

KC Star: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a cable news interview Thursday night that he plans to recuse himself from the vote tally process in the face of pressure from Gov. Jeff Colyer and mounting confusion over vote totals. Kobach said that he would recuse himself in an interview with CNN hours after Colyer had sent a letter demanding that Kobach refrain from instructing county election officials on the counting of ballots in…

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Kobach’s Office Apparently Made the Error Awarding Him 100 More Votes than He Deserved

Oh my: The hotline announcement coincided with the discovery of 100 votes for Colyer in Thomas County near the Colorado border. Thomas County Clerk Shelly Harms confirmed that Colyer received 522 votes on election day rather than the total of 422 that had been reported by the secretary of state’s office. She shared a scan of the form she submitted to Kobach’s office, which clearly showed 522 votes for the governor, and said the secretary of…

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Today’s Must Read: “Inside The Trump Voter Fraud Commission’s Weird, Wild Attempt To Prove The Untrue”

Sam Levine for HuffPo: One morning in June last year, just before 3 a.m., Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach emailed White House officials with an editing suggestion for a draft letter they were preparing on behalf of President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. In addition to requesting a boatload of voter information, the letter asked state election officials to answer questions about evidence of voter fraud and to offer…

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“No law prevents Kris Kobach from overseeing the likely recount in his own race”

KC Star: No law requires Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to recuse himself from a recount in the governor’s race, but legal and political experts say that he should to maintain trust in the election. Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday morning that a recount is almost certain and could possibly take weeks. Kobach, the state’s top election official, narrowly led Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary by a mere 191 votes…

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“Kansas and Ohio Races Remain Too Close to Call”

NYT: The Kansas Republican primary for governor and Ohio’s high-stakes special election for Congress both remained too close to call on Wednesday morning, with razor-thin margins separating the candidates in each race. With all precincts reporting in Kansas shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday, Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach was ahead of Gov. Jeff Colyer by just 191 votes out of more than 311,000 Republican ballots cast statewide. The results…

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“Election experts say Kris Kobach’s voter fraud claims are misleading”

CNN: Kris Kobach, the former vice-chair of President Donald Trump’s now-disbanded commission on election integrity, and Maine’s Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap have engaged in a public back and forth over the issue of voter fraud, with Kobach accusing Dunlap, a former member of the commission, of being “willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose,” and Dunlap claiming that the commission failed…

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“Kris Kobach used flawed research to defend Trump’s voter fraud panel, experts say”

WaPo: One of the foremost proponents of stricter voter identification laws, Kobach, who is running in the primary Tuesday for the Republican nomination for the state’s governorship, has been undeterred since a federal judge struck down a restrictive voting law for which he had advocated in the state. And in a statement sent to The Washington Post, Kobach accused Dunlap of being “willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose,” pointing…

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Is Kobach’s Controversial CrossCheck Program Dying?

Steven Rosenfeld: That overall tally means that 17 out of the 28 states that were in Crosscheck as of early 2017 have backed away, at least for now. That list of states, that, under a legal memo, agree to share some of their voter data for analytics overseen by the Kansas Secretary of State, comes from a Supreme Court legal brief filed by ex-Bush administration officials known for overly policing the process. They supported a new purge process…

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“Election Commission Documents Cast Doubt on Trump’s Claims of Voter Fraud”

ProPublica: Today, thousands of commission documents were released that show aspects of the body’s inner workings. As critics have suggested, the records — a mix of memos, internal emails and reports — make clear the commission’s work was driven by a small number of members who were convinced voter fraud was widespread, and that other members were often excluded from critical decisions about the commission’s aims and tactics…. On Nov. 18,…

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ELB Podcast, Season 2: Episode 1. Dale Ho: From the Trenches of the Voting Wars

After a long hiatus, the ELB Podcast is back in time for the midterm election season with a great first guest! What is the state of voting rights in America? What did the ACLU’s lawsuit against Kris Kobach over the state of Kansas’s “show us your papers” citizenship voting law teach us about the extent of the voter fraud problem? What’s at stake in the litigation over the citizenship question which may appear on…

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Today’s Must-Read: “Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats”

Great ProPublica/KC Star joint venture: Kobach used his work in Valley Park to attract other clients, with sometimes disastrous effects on the municipalities. The towns — some with budgets in the single-digit-millions — ran up hefty legal costs after hiring him to defend similar ordinances. Farmers Branch, Texas, wound up owing $7 million in legal bills. Hazleton, Penn., took on debt to pay $1.4 million and eventually had to file for a state…

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None of the Six Republican Candidates for Kansas Secretary of State Sees Voter Fraud as a Major Problem (as SOS Kobach Has Falsely Claimed)

…Interesting contrast: The candidates largely agreed that voter fraud is not a systemic issue but committed themselves to enforcing the state’s election laws. They also said they want to focus on improving the less-talked-about administrative side of the office, such as the state’s publications and business database and registration systems. Update: Maybe that’s not quite right: https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/1022993962083213312  …

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“Judge: Trump Voter Fraud Panel Docs Must Be Turned Over To Member Who Sued”

Tierney Sneed for TPM: Nearly six months after President Trump, citing growing litigation, dissolved his sketchy voter fraud commission, a federal judge in Washington said Wednesday that certain commission documents should be turned over to one of its commissioners, who sued last year over the panel’s lack of transparency. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had previously ordered in late December that the commissioner, Maine Secretary…

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“‘It takes five minutes or less.’ Court ruling means new Kansas voters sign up easily”

KC Star: Four days after a federal judge threw out a Kansas voting restriction, 72 newly naturalized Americans became registered voters in the same courthouse where the landmark voting rights trial took place. “That’s the reason why I became a citizen: to be able to vote,” said Patricia Mascote, who owns a convenience store in Overland Park and has lived in the United States for nearly 30 years after emigrating from Mexico. If Mascote’s…

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Crosscheck: “Security Concerns Stall Kris Kobach’s Controversial Voter Tracking Program in Kansas”

KMUW: A massive voter-tracking program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — which purports to help states keep voter rolls accurate — has halted operations over concerns about its own accuracy and security. The Interstate Crosscheck system, which Kobach’s office promised would be working ahead of the 2018 elections, has been sidelined while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducts a security assessment following the…

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“Voter fraud much greater threat than election hacking, Missouri’s Jay Ashcroft says”

KC Star: “While these are serious allegations, it is vitally important to understand that after two years of investigation there is no credible — and I can strike credible and just put evidence — there is no evidence that these incidents caused a single vote or a single voter registration to be improperly altered during the 2016 election cycle,” Ashcroft said. “It was not our votes or our election systems that were hacked — it was the…

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