Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com.
Few people have done more to shape the Republican Party’s recent crusade against voting rights, or have been given more power and influence to regulate the polls, than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
But now, Kobach’s career looks like it’s in freefall — exactly at the moment Kobach is trying to unseat fellow Republican Jeff Colyer for governor.
Kobach’s latest humiliation came on Friday. After Kobach was found in contempt of court, Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban state funds from being used to pay any penalties he might face.
According to the Topeka Capitol-Journal, the ban is likely illegal and unenforceable. But the vote is a stunning disavowal from the party that not only supported Kobach’s war on democracy but handed him the firepower to wage it.
Kobach has been a formidable force within the GOP as one of the loudest voices alleging massive illegal voting and pushing for severe restrictions at the polls.
Kobach was celebrated by Trump, who has repeatedly claimed he only lost the popular vote due to voter fraud (which has been disproven). He was even appointed to co-chair Mike Pence’s commission on “election integrity.”
The truth is that his claim of an epidemic of noncitizen voting does not exist. His “reforms” just block legal voters, most of which are low-income and non-white.
Koback attempted to implement many laws known to hold up voters, including requiring voters to submit proof of citizenship before registering — which was repeatedly shot down in court. His personal investigators found barely any cases of voter fraud. And his plan for excessive voter cross-checking is quietly being abandoned, with eight states pulling out over concerns the system is inaccurate and insecure.
Judge Julie Robinson, a George W. Bush appointee, had to reprimand him for not following court procedure, and his own witnesses failed to provide one example of an election being swayed by noncitizen voters.
It seems like Republicans have caught on that their once rising star is a failure. And they want no part of the fallout from his disgrace.
IMAGE: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach looks on as he talks about the Kansas voter ID law in his Topeka, Kansas office May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup