Kansas Secretary of State | KCUR

Kansas Secretary of State

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Police arrested 18 people protesting policies pushed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after the demonstrators occupied part of his office.

Police led them past other protesters to a bus waiting outside the Kobach’s office.

file photo / Kansas News Service

A federal judge will now review whether it’s reasonable for an ACLU legal team to charge Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $52,000 for the time it spent asking a court to hold him in contempt.

The bill for attorneys fees and related expenses came Monday after the ACLU team won that contempt finding last month.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers have approved new restrictions blocking teenagers and out-of-state candidates from future races for governor. The bill says starting next year, candidates must live in Kansas and be at least 25 years old.

The state’s lax laws have led to several teenagers, and residents of other states, joining the campaign for Kansas governor.

A wave of candidates even included a Hutchinson man attempting to enter his dog in the race

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday dropped an effort to require Secretary of State Kris Kobach to pay a contempt of court fine with his own money, rather than state dollars.

file photo / Kansas News Service

A federal judge has held Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt for failing to fully register and notify eligible voters he’d blocked.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found Kobach failed to get standard postcards sent out to those would-be voters confirming their registrations and failed to update the County Election Manual used by local election officials processing voter applications, as she had ordered him to do in May 2016.

Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse

Much was at stake in the two-plus weeks in Kansas City, Kansas, federal court where Secretary of State Kris Kobach defended the strict voter registration law he spearheaded and his office’s execution of those rules.

The case holds potential national ramifications for how difficult states can make voter registration, and for shedding light on whether enough illegal ballots get cast to justify tougher proof-of-citizenship rules.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3 FM

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a tongue lashing Tuesday from the judge who will decide whether he violated federal law by blocking tens of thousands of voter applications.

Federal Chief District Judge Julie Robinson, a George W. Bush appointee, accused Kobach of engaging in “gamesmanship” and skirting her orders.

Are Kansas’ strict voter registration laws necessary protections against fraud, or are they a nakedly political attempt to disenfranchise certain voters? That question is at the heart of a federal trial going on in Kansas. We explain this complicated issue and get the latest from the Statehouse. 

A man from Hutchinson is trying to enter his dog into the race for Kansas governor, but the secretary of state’s office said he’s barking up the wrong tree.

The Hutchinson News reports that Terran Woolley set up a campaign committee for his dog, Angus. He saw several teens were candidates and thought, why not a dog?

Bryan Caskey with the secretary of state’s office said Kansas law does say the governor is a person. Caskey said the office would not accept a candidacy filing for a dog. 

Screen grab from the Kansas Secretary of State website

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office took a trove of public records offline Thursday after a technology website discovered that they reveal partial Social Security numbers for potentially thousands of state officials.

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Some states fear that a Kansas voter record system could fall prey to hackers, prompting a delay in the annual collection of nearly 100 million people’s records into a database scoured for double-registrations.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach touts the program, called Crosscheck, as a tool in combating voter fraud. Last year, 28 states submitted voters’ names, birth dates, and sometimes partial social security numbers, to Kobach’s office.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Newly unsealed testimony given by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach suggests he knew that the federal motor voter law might have to be amended for states to require proof of citizenship for voter registration.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Recent controversy surrounding the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has put Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the nation's limelight. Today, we get an update on the 4-month-old committee.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is touting a controversial multistate voter database as a key resource in response to U.S. Department of Justice questions about Kansas’ compliance with federal voting law.

In a recent letter to the Justice Department, obtained by the Kansas News Service through an open records request, Kobach describes the database as “one of the most important systems” Kansas uses to check the accuracy of voter rolls.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A jury in Topeka said Thursday that Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office did not discriminate when firing an employee. Courtney Canfield argued in the lawsuit that she was fired in part for not attending church, and she said that amounted to religious discrimination.

After the unanimous verdict from the eight-person jury, Kobach said he was “very pleased.”

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

A former employee of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office said Monday in federal court that she was fired in part for not attending church, which left her confused and depressed.

Courtney Canfield argues her firing amounts to religious discrimination.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says wording on a state website might leave voters confused about whether they’re eligible to cast a ballot. The group wants Secretary of State Kris Kobach to make changes.

At issue is information about Kansas’ requirement that new voters prove their citizenship with a document such as a birth certificate or passport. Court rulings say that requirement currently doesn’t apply to people who register to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles or use the federal voter registration form.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. July 12 to reflect a response from Secretary Kobach's office. Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service are continuing to follow this issue.

Kansans who registered to vote at the DMV or otherwise used the federal voter registration form are eligible to vote in all races, according to court rulings, whether they’ve provided a citizenship document or not. But those voters might be confused by inconsistencies on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's website.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Officials from multiple states say they will not turn over voter data requested by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

This week, Kobach sent letters to all 50 states requesting their "publicly available voter roll data" to help with the work of a presidential commission on "election integrity" established earlier this year.

Dan Margolies / Kansas News Service

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who catapulted to national prominence on the strength of his anti-immigration views, announced his candidacy for Kansas governor Thursday.

Kobach made the announcement two days after Kansas lawmakers voted to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a tax package that would raise $1.2 billion over the next two years — a rejection of Brownback’s signature 2012 tax cuts.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Not only is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the thick of the latest national debate over immigration policy, he remains under consideration for a high-level job in the Trump administration.

The state’s chief elections officer told Kansas Republicans gathered Saturday in Manhattan for their 2017 state convention that he was advising President Donald Trump and key members of his national security team on how to overcome a recent federal court ruling blocking the administration’s ban on travel from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

When Donald Trump declared his presidential candidacy, few guessed he stood a real chance. The now-president's longtime friend and former adviser Roger Stone thought otherwise. Today, he shares his insight. Then, we learn about the evolution of Kris Kobach's voter Crosscheck program and the story of how one Kansan got caught up in it.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a ninth case of reported voter fraud this week, criminally charging a man who allegedly voted illegally in Kansas and Texas.

A criminal complaint filed in Shawnee County District Court charges Preston G. Christensen with three misdemeanor counts of improper voting between Oct. 19, 2012, to Nov. 6, 2012, in Shawnee County, Kansas.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

After certifying the Kansas election results, Secretary of State Kris Kobach told reporters in Topeka this week he agrees with President-elect Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claim that ballots cast by non-citizens cost him the popular vote.

It comes as no surprise. Trump's assertion sounds like something that could have come from the secretary himself. 

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Most of us have a week to go before the Big Vote. Kansans can cast their ballots early (and many are doing so), but Missourians have to wait until Nov. 8. For everyone who wants to vote on Election Day, here are some things you need to know:

1. What’s my registration status?

It doesn’t hurt to check before you go.

file photo / KCUR 89.3

If you think there seems to be a lot of early voters this year, you're right. 

In the first week or so of advanced in-person voting, Kansas counties in the metro area are experiencing numbers that suggest records could be broken. 

"I never thought we'd surpass 2008," says Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. 

That year, when Barack Obama beat John McCain, many precincts across the nation saw historic overall turnout. But this year, Shew and others suspect new early voting benchmarks could be set. 

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Did U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Brian Newby's recently unearthed emails with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violate federal rules? 

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Allied Progress alleges they did and now wants the EAC's Inspector General to dig further into the matter. 

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The office of Kansas Secretary of State is usually a sleepy, bottom-of-the-ticket office that doesn't draw big attention at election time.

Not this year. Kris Kobach has been a high-profile, stir-it-up secretary of state in his four years in office where he's made cracking down on voter fraud a central concern.

His opponent, Jean Schodorf, is a former 10-year Republican state senator who later switched to the Democratic Party. She calls the way Kobach has handled the office an "embarrassment" to the state.

More than 70 former Kansas lawmakers, all of them Republicans, have endorsed the Democrat in the Secretary of State race.

Traditional Republicans for Common Sense is backing Jean Schodorf, a Democrat, over incumbent Republican Kris Kobach. Founder Jim Yonally, a former state Representative, from Overland Park, says the decision to back Schodorf is partly because Kobach has embraced what Yonally sees as a stridently conservative political agenda.

Yonally says his group draws from generations of moderate Kansas Republican leaders.

The Democrat running against Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach has released her tax records to the media, and she says Kobach should do the same.

Kobach is occasionally in national headlines for his legal work on immigration. At issue is how much time he spends on that work outside his job as secretary of state.

Former state Senator Jean Schodorf from Wichita, has questioned if Kobach spends too much time working on immigration issues. She wants Kobach to provide his tax documents because she says that would prove how he spends his time.

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