Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Judge Strikes Down Kansas Voter Law

A Federal Judge has struck down a Kansas Voter Citizenship Law that Secretary of State Kris Kobach had Personally Defended. Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kobach, who is seeking the Republican Nomination for Governor, to take more Hours of Continuing Legal Education after he was found in Contempt and was frequently chided during the Trial over his Missteps. In an 118-page Ruling Monday, Robinson ordered a Halt to the State’s Requirement that People provide Proof of Citizenship in the Registration process if they want to Vote in State and Local Elections. If they don't they only can Vote in Federal and Presidential Elections. The Decision would take affect as the August and November Elections approach.

Robinson’s ruling amounted to a takedown of the Law that Kobach had Championed and Lawmakers Approved several years ago. Judge Robinson found that it “disproportionately impacts duly qualified registration applicants, while only nominally preventing noncitizen voter registration.” “If eligible Kansans’ votes are not counted despite believing they are registered to vote, it erodes confidence in the electoral system,” Robinson wrote. She ordered Kobach not to Enforce the Physical Proof of Citizenship Law and its accompanying Regulations.

Kobach's Office said he will Appeal the Ruling. "Judge Robinson is the first judge in the country to come to the extreme conclusion that requiring a voter to prove his citizenship is unconstitutional. Her conclusion is incorrect, and it is inconsistent with precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court," his Office said in a Statement.

The Ruling is the culmination of a Federal Lawsuit filed in 2016. At a Bench Trial earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Attorney Mark Johnson represented Voters who said they had been Impeded from Registering by the Law. “This decision is a stinging rebuke of Kris Kobach, and the centerpiece of his voter suppression efforts: a show-me-your-papers law that has disenfranchised tens of thousands of Kansans. That law was based on a xenophobic lie that noncitizens are engaged in rampant elections fraud," said Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project.

Under the Ruling, Kobach must Instruct all State and County Election Officers that Voter Registration Applicants do not need to Provide Proof of Citizenship in order to Register to Vote. Registrants who have Not Provided Proof of Citizenship must be Listed the same as all other Registrants.

The Voter Registration Form used in most States states: The above information is true, I understand that if it is not true, I can be convicted and fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to four years.

Robinson rejected Kobach’s argument that the Law was needed to Prohibit Voter Fraud. She said of the Tens of Thousands of People whose Voter Registrations have been Canceled or Suspended because of a lack of Proof of Citizenship, less than 1% have been Confirmed to be Non-Citizens.
Instead of helping to Block Voter Fraud, the Law “acted as a deterrent to registration and voting for substantially more eligible Kansans than it has prevented ineligible voters from registering to vote,” she wrote.

The Ruling was also a slap against Kobach as an Attorney. Robinson wrote Kobach had a “well-documented history of avoiding this Court’s orders.” She repeatedly criticized Kobach’s Conduct in Court, noting that at least once he tried to introduce Evidence despite Robinson having Excluded it. She also wrote that Kobach Failed to Disclose Documents, and she Faulted Misleading Testimony by one of his Witnesses.

Kobach was previously Fined $1,000 in the Case and held in Contempt.

Robinson concluded her Ruling by ordering Kobach to take Six Additional Hours of continuing Legal Education in addition to any other Hours required for a Law License. “The additional CLE must pertain to federal or Kansas civil rules of procedure or evidence,” Robinson wrote.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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