Documents Show Kobach Proposed Changes To Federal Voting Laws

Oct 5, 2017

Newly unsealed documents show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had proposed changes to federal voting law when meeting last year with then President-elect Donald Trump. The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to disclose the documents in a lawsuit over Kansas voting rules.

At issue were two documents. One was a partially obscured paper Kobach carried into a meeting in November 2016 with Trump, and the second was a document distributed in his office.

They show Kobach had proposed to change the National Voter Registration Act to promote proof-of-citizenship laws. The federal act has been used to challenge Kansas voter registration policies. The changes would allow Kansas and other states to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Read Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s redacted homeland security strategic plan.

Read Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s redacted proposal on amendments to National Voter Registration Act.

The ACLU wanted to disclose the documents in a case over Kansas voting rules. The documents were unsealed Thursday by a federal judge.

Dale Ho, an ACLU attorney, says the public has a right to know about Kobach’s proposals.

“I’m glad this dispute over these documents is finally coming to an end. These documents never should have been concealed from the public,” Ho said.

Kobach is vice chairman of a presidential commission studying voting policies and fraud. As secretary of state, he has pushed for laws that require people to produce a citizenship document when registering and show photo ID at the polls.

Kobach has said the ACLU had a political agenda in making the documents public and that unsealing them would hinder his ability to advise the president.

Earlier this week the ACLU launched a national voting rights campaign with an event in Kansas

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.