Secretary of State Kris Kobach will have to prove to a federal judge why he should not be held in contempt of court at a hearing on Friday.
Judge Julie Robinson scheduled the contempt hearing after a filing by the American Civil Liberties Union last week. The filing alleges that Kobach has failed to comply with the judge’s May order to register about 18,000 people who registered to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles but did not provide proof of citizenship.
Those voters were allowed to cast provisional ballots in the August primary, but Kobach has not added them to the state’s voter registration list. The ACLU says that has resulted in confusion and discouraged voter participation.
The parties in the case “have fundamental disagreements over what Defendant Kobach must do to comply with the Court’s order and federal law,” according to court documents filed by the ACLU on Friday.
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“Secretary Kobach has not complied with the order in this case to register motor-voter applicants,” Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in an e-mail on Monday. “And he hasn’t provided these voters with notice that they are, in fact, actually registered to vote. We’re glad that the Court is taking these issues very seriously.”
Kobach issued a short statement through a spokeswoman, saying, “The State of Kansas is in full compliance of the district court order.”
The hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Friday at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, Kan.
The case is one of several dealing with the enforcement of the state’s requirement that voters provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, when they register to vote.
Kobach, the policy’s architect, has contended the policy prevents noncitizens from voting, but opponents say it makes it tougher for citizens to register.
Earlier this month, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Kansas could not require federal form registrants to provide proof of citizenship when they register.
The court issued the order blocking the rule prior to handing down its full ruling, which came Monday and states that “there is precious little record evidence” that lifting the requirement will result in “fraudulent registration by non-citizens.”