Tuesday was the last day of a trial challenging a Kansas state law that has disenfranchised tens of thousands of eligible voters. Kris Kobach, who once led Trump’s anti-voter fraud commission, represented the state in defending the law and made a fool of himself repeatedly, including getting fined and may well end up being held in criminal contempt of court as well. Ari Berman reports on the trial:
Kobach, who led President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission and is now running for governor, hired Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation to support his claim that illegal votes by non-citizens had swung US elections. But under questioning from ACLU lawyer Dale Ho, von Spakovsky admitted he couldn’t name a single election where votes by non-citizens had decided the outcome.
Kobach cited Jesse Richman, a professor of political science at Old Dominion University, to defend the charge that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 because of millions of illegal votes. But when Ho asked Richman if illegal votes had provided the margin for Clinton, Richman said “no.”
Richman produced a study for Kobach last year alleging that as many as 18,000 non-citizens were registered to vote in Kansas. However, the study offered evidence of only six noncitizens who attempted to register. Richman admitted in court that he didn’t know if they had succeeded in registering or voting. And the methodology Richman used to identify noncitizen voters was deeply flawed: He simply flagged people with “foreign”-sounding names, although he was inconsistent in his execution. As Talking Points Memo reported, “two respondents with the last name Lopez were coded as foreign, and three Lopezes were not.”On the sixth day of the trial, Ho read a series of names and asked Richman if he would label them as foreign-sounding. When he came to the name Carlos Murguia, Richman said he probably would flag it as foreign. Ho responded that Carlos Murguia was a federal judge in that very courthouse in Kansas City.
The judge in the case, Julie Robinson, was a George W. Bush appointee, but she has repeatedly reprimanded Kobach for his appalling conduct in court. She fined him early on in the case for failing to turn over evidence, then he did the same thing all over again just before the trial started. On Tuesday, she actually pounded her desk while demanding to know why he didn’t notify some 35,000 voters who were prevented from registering because they didn’t have a birth certificate or passport that they were eligible to vote. The ACLU is asking that he be held in contempt for failing to do so as the judge had ordered, so he may well find himself in even more trouble, hopefully including some jail time.
And now Kobach is running for governor. Welcome to the age of Trump.