Kansas secretary of state in contempt in voting case, judge says

Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks with a reporter in his office in Topeka Kan. Wednesday

He also has the support of the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., who campaigned for Kobach late a year ago.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violated a court order that required his office to inform certain people that they were eligible to cast a ballot while a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring proof of USA citizenship worked its way through the courts, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Wednesday's ruling from U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson stems from a legal challenge to Kansas' proof-of-citizenship voter law, which requires people to show ID including a birth certificate or passport when they register to vote.

Instead of a fine in the contempt matter, Robinson ordered Kobach to pay attorneys fees for the plaintiffs in the case. She also found that Kobach's office did not send postcards to such voters, who had not shown proof-of-citizenship documents when they registered, as the judge required.

Robinson reacted angrily to that assertion during the hearing, saying her ruling made it clear that voters covered by her injunction were not to be treated differently from other registered voters. Yet an election manual with the wrong information was not updated on secretary of state websites, causing confusion for voters and county election officials, she said.

Robinson had blocked the Kansas law in 2016 as applied to people who tried to register to vote in federal elections when they applied for or renewed their driver's licenses.

Judge Robinson also noted that before the he was put to trial, Kobach exhausted to maintain he was not obligated to send out postcards only to later change stance, claiming he "orally" instructed his staff to do that.

Kobach and his lawyers initially said in court documents that they were only obligated to send affected voters the court notice, not the postcards. She said Kobach has been regularly disrespectful to the court showing "non-compliance" to court rulings.

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Robinson noted in Wednesday's order Kobach narrowly escaped being held in contempt two years ago after he initially flouted her order to register the voters impacted by the case.

The ACLU recently filed a motion to hold Kobach in contempt of court for failing to follow through orders. The lawsuit Fish v. Kobach is still pending.

Kobach spokesman Moriah Day said the secretary of state's office would be appealing Robinson's decision.

"Defendant has a history of noncompliance with the preliminary injunction order".

A spokeswoman for Kobach explained the secretary of state&rsquo workplace could attraction rsquo Robinson &decision.

"I believe that Kobach did what he could do within the office", Esau said.

Robinson has yet to separately rule on the overall case involving Kobach, which will determine whether thousands can cast ballots this November when Kansas elects a new governor.

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