News & Politics

Kobach really seems to hate when people are allowed to vote

Anu Joshi • Aug 11, 2015
Kris Kobach
Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach seems to really hate when people vote.

His latest attempt to keep people from the polls is a rule that would add even more teeth to the harsh proof of citizenship provisions he implemented in Kansas before last year’s election.

Voter suppression is part of a larger strategy within the anti-immigrant movement to marginalize people of color. Kobach’s relentlessness of making patently false accusations about ineligible immigrants attempting to vote is designed to create a false narrative around immigrants, immigration reform, and a supposed threat to American democracy. The aggressive laws that Kobach has championed in Kansas, and in other states like Arizona, disproportionately target people of color and low-income communities. This is no accident, but part of an effort to disenfranchise voters and change policy to reflect a racist ideology.

Under current policies, such registrations are placed on a suspended voters list – creating a disenfranchised tier of voters who can only cast ballots in federal elections. That list grew to more than 20,000 voters ahead of last November’s election.

Ahead of last November’s election, 20,000 voters were disenfranchised from participating in state or local elections, and only allowed to vote in the federal election.

Should it be approved, the new rule is expected to significantly decrease Kansas’ number of suspended voters by removing people from this list entirely. There will be a public hearing in Topeka to discuss the proposal on September 2. It will then be considered for approval by Kansas’ Rules and Regulations Board.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Kobach v. United States Election Assistance Commission. While that decision was welcome for not forcing changes to federal voter registration forms, it also propped up the two-tier system Kobach created to limit thousands of voters’ democratic participation.

Now, through this new rule, Kobach is seeking to effectively eliminate that participation entirely by purging them from voter rolls every 90 days.

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