Kris Kobach and Voter Suppression: Take #1
It should be far more worrisome that Kris Kobach, Secretary of State for Kansas, and notorious voter suppression advocate, has been hired by Donald Trump, than the fact that Trump fired James Comey as F.B.I. Director last week. One of these individuals perhaps could have uncovered evidence leading to Trump’s impeachment. The other — Kobach — stands to destroy democracy in America if he is allowed to implement his ideas.
Make no mistake, it is disturbing that James Comey was fired when he was fired last week. He was, perhaps, making headway in his investigation of the alleged Russian manipulation of our election and Trump’s connection to it. However, Comey’s removal will likely not stop that pursuit.
On the other hand, Kris Kobach was just hired last week by Trump to lead the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. The commission is chasing the baseless claims that elections in the U.S. are reaped with fraud. This has been proven false over and over by numerous studies of the elections. Our elections are actually nearly absent of fraud considering the numbers of voters.
But Kobach, even if there was such a problem, is the wrong person to head anything that would and could suppress the voting rights of voters of color and any voter, but especially those historically denied that right: African-Americans. Kobach has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “lawyer for the nativist movement” in the U.S. Kobach is also the architect behind SB 1070, the infamous Arizona anti-immigration law, and he is likewise behind similar anti-immigration laws reaching other states that deny basic civil liberty rights to newly arrived legal or illegal immigrants.
Yet, Kobach is specifically known for his actions in Kansas on voter suppression. The law there is a voter ID law that is an attempt to stop persons of color from voting is quite obvious when examining the law. In a recent election, 17,000 individuals were not even allowed to register to vote. Kobach, as SOS of Kansas, also has the power to prosecute individuals for voter fraud and he has done so. How many? 8. This is well short of the millions of fraudulent votes that are allegedly out there somewhere.
Kobach, in other words, is simply anti-democratic. His initiatives on voting have spread like a virus to other states. It is no accident he is connected with the nativist movement. It is no accident he spoke at a white nationalist conference and was not concerned. And it is not surprising he is using his legal skills to promote ideals that will destroy the country’s democratic traditions rather than promote the greater good. He is, however, an individual who must be monitored and challenged (he has been smacked down many times already in courts) every day, all day by those of us who believe in equal justice.