TOPEKA — The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday asked Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to correct voting information on state and county websites or risk further legal action.
Kobach fought ACLU in a trial in March over the state's proof of citizenship requirement in voter registrations. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson blocked enforcement of the law pending outcome of the case, then found Kobach to be in contempt for failing to comply with her orders.
In a letter emailed to Kobach, ACLU points out multiple online references that erroneously say voters must prove their citizenship before voting. ACLU asks for changes to four sections of the secretary of state's website, as well as information found on Douglas, Riley and Crawford county websites.
ACLU attorney Dale Ho said Kobach "should have taken care of all of this long ago."
"He was ordered to correct all information on his website — he clearly has not," Ho said. "And he was ordered to instruct the counties about the effect of the court’s order. It’s common sense that that instruction should entail updating the information disseminated to voters."
The letter — which is signed by Ho, attorney Neil Steiner and ACLU Kansas executive director Micah Kubic — asks Kobach to issue instructions to counties and correct his own web pages by May 18.
"We hope that these simple issues can be resolved without judicial intervention," the letter said, "but will avail ourselves of all legal remedies necessary if your office continues to fail to adhere to its responsibilities."
Robinson in her contempt ruling said Kobach was responsible for providing clear direction to counties about complying with her orders. ACLU on Monday requested more than $50,000 in compensation for attorney fees spent litigating the contempt issue.
During court proceedings, Robinson complained about having to continually police Kobach for compliance with her orders.
"Even leaving aside the court’s orders," Ho said, "part of the job of the state’s chief election official is to ensure that voters to understand the current requirements for voter registration. But he obviously has no interest in actually doing his job."
Ho said ACLU looked at the election information posted online for the 10 largest counties in Kansas. In addition to the three with incorrect information, he said, two more had no information at all.
A spokesman for Kobach didn't immediately respond to questions for this story.