A federal judge has found Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court for failing to comply with court orders in a case challenging a controversial state proof-of-citizenship voting law.
The law, which took effect in 2013, required anyone who registers to vote in the state to provide documentation of US citizenship such as a birth certificate or a passport. It has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued in federal court that the law violated the National Voter Registration Act.
In May 2016, the same federal judge that has now found Kobach in contempt of court struck a blow to the law by ruling that Kansas could not require people to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote in certain circumstances.
In the ruling handed down on Wednesday, US District Judge Julie Robinson stated that the court found “clear and convincing evidence” that Kobach disobeyed court orders “when he failed to ensure that voter registration applications covered by the preliminary injunction order became fully registered.”
Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement, “the judge found that Kris Kobach disobeyed the court’s orders by failing to provide registered voters with consistent information, that he willfully failed to ensure that county elections officials were properly trained, and that he has a ‘history of noncompliance and disrespect for the court’s decisions.”
The Kansas secretary of state’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
After President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, he appointed Kobach, a Republican, to help lead a voter fraud commission, which disbanded earlier this year. Trump has repeatedly made debunked assertions alleging voter fraud in the US. Earlier this month, the President claimed without evidence that the same person voted “many times” in California.
Kobach has also made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud. In September 2017, Kobach stated that voter fraud took place in New Hampshire, a claim that the fact checker PolitiFact rated false.