Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — who co-chairs the White House’s controversial “election integrity” commission — has some explaining to do.
An exhaustive investigation by the Associated Press (AP) reveals that Kobach, who oversees Kansas’ elections, threw out 13,717 ballots in the 2016 presidential election, putting his state near the top of the list in terms of rejected ballots despite Kansas only being the 33rd largest state. Florida, for example, threw out 256 fewer ballots last year, despite having 18.8 million residents compared to Kansas’ 2.8 million residents.
There were multiple reasons given for the ballots not being counted. According to the AP, more than 10,000 of the nearly 14,000 ballots not counted in Kansas were due to on-site issues, like voters showing up to the wrong precinct or not being properly registered. Kansas’ rigorous voting laws — which include voters having to provide both photo ID and proof of citizenship before casting a ballot — stipulate that if a voter moves to a new county but doesn’t properly update their registration information for their new county, their vote will not count except in the instance of races that cover both jurisdictions.
Jason Kander, who is the former Secretary of State for Missouri, argued that Kobach was attempting to suppress votes cast by minority voters with overly complicated laws, and by giving voters provisional ballots (which may or may not be counted) even when they meet the state’s requirements.
“[Kobach] is on a crusade to stop people from voting and now the president of the United States has given him a bigger platform,” Kander told the AP, referring to Kobach’s position on the White House’s voter fraud commission.
Kobach has argued that his state’s voting laws should be a model for the entire nation to follow, and since taking his position on 45’s* election integrity panel, he has asked elections officials in all 50 states to provide detailed information on all registered voters, including dates of birth, home addresses, and even Social Security numbers. However, nearly every state has either completely or partially refused Kobach’s request.
Regardless of what Kobach or his commission will do, Republican-dominated legislatures in roughly three dozen states are working to make it even harder to vote, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice. As of the end of the 2017 legislative session, 99 bills aimed at restricting access to voting have been introduced, with 35 of those bills in 17 different states being approved at the committee level and beyond:
While no official investigation has yet been opened into whether or not Kobach suppressed votes in the 2016 election, it’s worth noting that he’s been successfully sued on four occasions for voter suppression, according to The Independent.
(*EDITOR’S NOTE: GritPost.com is now exclusively referring to Donald Trump as “45.” Please read our official statement on Twitter explaining the decision.)
Scott Alden covers national politics, education, and environmental issues for Grit Post. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in Inkster, Michigan.