News Columns & Blogs

Challenging the facts of Kobach's defense

Secretary of State Kris Kobach's robust recent defense of his voting laws in The Eagle had factual problems, according to a Winfield Daily Courier article and a Kansas City Star columnist. In the course of his June 29 response to an Eagle editorial about his law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, Kobach described a 1997 incident in which "a bus full of individuals believed to be aliens rolled up" to the Cowley County Clerk's Office and registered to vote in a ballot election related to hog farming. On Saturday the Winfield Daily Courier reported that no such incident had happened, and that a call to Kobach's office revealed "what Kobach meant to write was Seward County." (Dee Leete, who was Seward County clerk in 1997, confirmed the story, saying "there were people claiming to live in Liberal but who were being bused in from an out-of-state workplace" and "we were dealing with serious voter fraud" – though no one was prosecuted.) As for Kobach's claim that a 2010 Missouri House "election was stolen" by one vote when J.J. Rizzo "received about 50 votes illegally cast by citizens of Somalia": Kansas City Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah, while noting there were lots of allegations about voting irregularities involving Somalis, quoted a Jackson County judge's ruling in August 2010 that "credible evidence proves that there was no voter misconduct and there was no voter fraud with regard to this election." Abouhalkah concluded that Kobach "needs to find a better case before he – an elected official – states publicly that an election was illegally stolen."