Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants a job in the nation’s capital.
His interest in higher office isn’t new. After becoming Kansas secretary of state in 2011, the ultraconservative worked tirelessly on his national reputation as an immigration hard-liner.
He claimed rampant voting by illegal immigrants, with no proof, in convincing Kansas policymakers to approve unnecessary and discriminatory Voter ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements.
He also successfully lobbied for the ability to prosecute voter fraud, even though state and local prosecutors could handle extremely rare cases that arise. So far, Kobach has produced just a few charges against U.S. citizens voting in two states in the same election.
Watch him go down another rabbit hole.
He’s requested a list of 21,000 temporary driver’s license holders in Kansas (mostly held by noncitizens here legally), no doubt to compare it with recent voting rolls. The request stemmed from a lawsuit challenging Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship requirement.
While his efforts have brought multiple losses in court, at a cost to Kansas, Kobach remains undeterred.
The adviser to President-elect Donald Trump now wants a full-time gig in Trump’s administration.
They’re kindred spirits, as evidenced by a shared anti-Muslim refugee sentiment and fraudulent claim of millions of noncitizens voting illegally in the recent general election.
While campaigning, Trump ranted about the presidential election being rigged. But neither he nor Kobach showed interest afterward when the CIA said it was “quite clear” Russian hackers set out to influence the election.
True champions of clean, fair elections would demand congressional hearings on Russia’s involvement.
Kobach also didn’t care about questions over anomalies in Kansas election results in 2014 in Sedgwick County — because his ultraconservative allies won.
Discouraging voter participation in folks less likely to support the far right — the poor, minorities, young adults and elderly — is a higher priority, unfortunately.
It’s made Kansas the epicenter of voter suppression, as Kobach-inspired policies already have deterred tens of thousands of prospective voters.
Now he wants to wreak havoc on a bigger stage.
If Trump won’t accommodate him, Kansas voters should soundly reject Kobach if he chooses to run again for a state office.
Either way, his self-serving attack on voting rights has to end.