Kobach Pitched Rolling Back Voting Rights Law Day After Trump’s Election

Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital Journal
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An email chain released as part of litigation around Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement confirmed what many suspected to be Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s (R) long-term goal in partnering with President Trump’s administration.

The email chain, first published Saturday by the Huffington Post, reveals that Kobach emailed Trump’s transition team the day after Trump’s surprise victory informing transition member Gene Hamilton that he was working on draft “amendments to the [National Voter Registration Act] to make clear that proof of citizenship requirements are permitted” to submit as legislation to Congress.

The NVRA is also known as the “Motor Voter Law,” and it sought to streamline the process by which eligible voters can register at DMVs and other government agencies. It has been an obstacle in Kobach’s attempts to implement a proof-of-citizenship requirement in his state and courts have ruled against him multiple times.

The email chain was released to the ACLU on Friday as part of its legal challenge against Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship requirement.

Non-citizen voting has been found to be extremely rare, and civil rights groups like the ACLU argue that such requirements place a disproportionate burden on poor, minority and older voters, who are less likely to have handy the necessary documents.

Not long after the email was sent in November, Kobach was photographed alongside then-President Elect Trump holding an outline that appeared to be proposing an amendment to the NVRA:

The revelation comes as Kobach is also vice chairing Trump’s shady “elections integrity” commission. Voting rights experts worry that the commission, which is scheduled to meet for the first time this week, will seek to justify Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that millions voted illegally in 2016 and, in turn, use those claims as a pretext to push laws that roll back voting rights.

“I think the email is wholly unsurprising,” Justin Levitt, an elections expert at Loyola Law School who previously served in President Obama’s Justice Department, told the Washington Post.”I won’t be shocked as more proof emerges that the cake is already baked.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
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