Voting Rights

06 January 2018- Thurmont MD- U.S. President Donald J. Trump speaks at Camp David after holding meetings with staff, members of his Cabinet and Republican members of Congress to discuss the Republican legislative agenda for 2018.Photo Credit: Chris Kleponis/Sipa USA
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 4:  Voters turn out to cast their ballots at polling locations on November 4, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
on March 1, 2016 in Burlington, United States.
Democratic Governors Association press conference, at the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, February 24, 2018.  (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
Painting Justice and the Prairie at the Robert J. Dole Federal Building U.S. Courthouse, Kansas City, Kansas
Racially Tinged Amateur Hour

One last glimpse at the racially tinged amateur hour that Kris Kobach seems to have put on in defending his strict voter registration law:

ACLU lawyer Dale Ho cross-examined Jesse Richman, a witness for Kobach, about the methodology in a controversial study Richman produced showing significant rates of non-citizen voting. In the study, Richman coded certain respondents who had “foreign”-sounding names, for weighting purposes.

Tierney Sneed reports:

After going over some of the names Richman coded as foreign — two respondents with the last name Lopez were coded as foreign, and three Lopezes were not — Ho asked Richman how he would code the name “Carlos Murguia.” Richman said he’d probably code the name as “foreign.” Ho pointed out that Murguia is a federal judge in the same courthouse in which the trial is taking place. Richman admitted he wasn’t aware of that.

Judge Goes Off On Kobach Witness

“You’re not here to advocate, you’re not here to trash the advocate, you’re not here to argue with me.”

That was Judge Julie Robinson just now, upbraiding Kobach witness Jesse Richman, for interrupting her and the ACLU’s lawyer, Tierney Sneed reports.

Richman is the “expert” whose study of non-citizen voting was cited by the White House to support Trump’s false claim that he would have won the popular vote if it weren’t for millions of illegal votes.

The Voter Fraud Bamboozling Trainwreck

A truly epic week on the voting rights front.

TPM Prime subscribers can catch up here.

The Von Spakovsky Debunking You’ve Been Waiting For

It sounds like voter fraud huckster Hans von Spakovsky’s claims about rampant illegal voting were given the thorough debunking they deserve by the ACLU’s Dale Ho during the trial over Kansas’s proof of citizenship law Friday.

Tierney Sneed reports:

Ho moved on from the report itself to claims that von Spakovsky — and Kobach — have made in op-eds, that Somali nationals voting illegally tipped a state legislative race in Missouri.

A state court ruling found that there was no fraud in the race.

Von Spakovsky said he “was not aware of that” when he wrote his op-ed. Asked if he attempted to retract the claim, von Spakovsky said he didn’t recall when he found out.

That’s kind of how it went.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach listens and takes note as a judge declares in Shawnee County District Court that the state must count potentially thousands of votes from people who registered without providing documentation of their U.S. citizenship, Friday, July 29, 2016, in Topeka, Kan. Kobach had directed local election officials to count only their votes in federal races, not state and local ones. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Full committee hearing on the nominations of Hans von Spakovsky; David Mason; Robert Lenhard; and Steven Walter, each to be a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission.
Embarrassment For Von Spakovsky

So last September, a reporter asked Hans von Spakovsky — one of the leaders of the conservative push to hype voter fraud — whether he was the sender of an email that said putting Democrats or mainstream Republicans on Trump’s voter fraud commission would lead to its “abject failure.”

Von Spakoskvy denied it. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said.

Hours later, it was revealed that von Spakovsky had indeed sent the email. He later claimed, implausibly, that he was confused because the reporter had phrased her question imprecisely.

And now, Tierney Sneed reports, the whole embarrassing episode is being entered into evidence to impeach von Spakovsky’s credibility as a witness in the trial over Kansas’s strict voter registration law. Including the transcript of the reporter’s audio recording, in which von Spakovsky falsely denies sending the email.

Full committee hearing on the nominations of Hans von Spakovsky; David Mason; Robert Lenhard; and Steven Walter, each to be a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission.
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Judge Lectures Kobach: ‘That’s Not How Trials Are Conducted’

Sounds like the judge in the trial over Kansas’s strict voter registration law isn’t too pleased with Kris Kobach and his legal team right now.

Tierney Sneed reported Thursday afternoon that Kobach, the Kansas Sec. of State, tried again to introduce some evidence that Judge Julie Robinson had previously blocked him from submitting because his team blew a deadline to show it to the challengers.

“When do we close the door, Mr. Kobach?” Robinson asked. She said it was an “ambush” to try to introduce the new evidence in the middle of the trial.

“That’s not how trials are conducted,” added Robinson, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

This comes after Judge Robinson repeatedly lectured Kobach’s team about trial procedure on Wednesday.

Remember, Kobach chose to represent himself in the trial, using lawyers from the Sec. of State’s office, rather than relying on the state AG.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks with a reporter in his office in Topeka, Kan., Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Live From The Kobach Voting Trial…

The trial over Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s controversial voting law is in its third day, and Tierney Sneed is in Kansas covering all the action for us.

Today, after a bit of a struggle, Kobach succeeded in getting a piece of evidence that’s central to his case admitted. It’s a spreadsheet that he claims shows a significant rate of non-citizen voting. Kobach needs to show that non-citizen voting is a real problem, in order to justify his law requiring people to show proof of citizenship when they register.

You can expect the ACLU to try to raise serious doubts about the spreadsheet’s claims. Still, it sounds a little better for Kobach than what happened Wednesday, when the judge kept having to lecture Kobach’s team of lawyers on the correct trial procedure. Kobach is defending the law himself, rather than relying on the state AG’s office.

Oh and Kobach also reportedly came to court today with an armed escort, citing potential security threats.

You can follow Tierney’s live updates here.

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