Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been trying to disenfranchise Kansas voters for years, but not getting away with it lately, thanks to the court system. Charlie Riedel The Associated Press
Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been trying to disenfranchise Kansas voters for years, but not getting away with it lately, thanks to the court system. Charlie Riedel The Associated Press

Yael T. Abouhalkah

Kris Kobach caves in contempt case in big win for Kansas voters

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

abouhalkah@kcstar.com

September 29, 2016 01:35 PM

UPDATED September 29, 2016 02:12 PM

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach crumbled Thursday, probably frightened by the prospect of being held in contempt of court on Friday.

Kobach reached a deal with American Civil Liberties Union lawyers to clear up the status of thousands of Kansas voters who had registered at motor vehicle offices.

That was the right move to make, though months late.

Now, around 20,000 voters should have full confidence they will be duly registered and legally able to go to the polls for the Nov. 8 elections.

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Kobach had been scheduled to appear Friday in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on the ACLU’s earlier contention that he had not fully complied with an order she gave in the vote-related case earlier this year.

Overall, this is another loss for Kobach, who for years has been trying to make it harder to vote in the Sunflower State.

If there’s any justice in the world, Robinson still would have hauled Kobach into court to explain why he didn’t take all of these actions earlier to make sure people had their full voting rights.

Indeed, Kobach had lamely claimed he was in full compliance with her order. Obviously, as he has conceded on Thursday, he wasn’t.

This was also a sweet victory for the ACLU. Kobach had labeled them “communists” earlier this year, along with the League of Women Voters, partly for their positive actions on behalf of voters.

Sure, Kobach was never likely to have gone to jail if held in contempt of court.

But the judge could have made him sweat a little bit over it, especially given all the problems he has caused for thousands of Kansas voters.