Kansas Secretary of State, voter suppression advocate, and Lionel Hutz School of Law graduate Kris Kobach is currently deadlocked with Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary. Kobach is currently holding a 191-vote lead with 100 percent of precincts reporting. But he’s got everything under control. If he loses, he’s all ready to blame it on voter fraud. If he wins, he can trust in his victory because he’ll oversee any potential recount of his own race. This seems like a good and reasonable way to run an election.
On Tuesday night, ThinkProgress reminded Kobach of his past assertion that “we may never know” who won the popular vote in the 2016 election because of voter fraud, and asked how he knew that “illegal voters” wouldn’t sway his own race in either direction. His answer: They might!
“If it’s a close race, illegal votes could swing any close race. There are close legislative races routinely in Kansas decided by fewer than 10 votes. In a race like that, it’s quite possible that 20 illegal votes [could swing the election].”
Let’s remind ourselves of just one example of Kobach’s complete lack of credibility in these matters. In June, U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson struck down a law requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Kobach wrote the law and then defended it in federal court, so its failure is entirely his. In her ruling, Robinson also essentially ordered Kobach to go back to school (emphasis mine):
Defendant chose to represent his own office in this matter, and as such, had a duty to familiarize himself with the governing rules of procedure, and to ensure as the lead attorney on this case that his discovery obligations were satisfied despite his many duties as a busy public servant. The Court therefore imposes a [Continuing Legal Education] requirement of 6 hours for the 2018-2019 reporting year in addition to any other CLE education required by his law license. These 6 additional hours must pertain to federal or Kansas civil rules of procedure or evidence.”
If Kobach does eventually lose and accuse Colyer of voter fraud, it also wouldn’t be the first time, as he did so in June because of...a straw poll:
Luckily for Kobach, he’s in the driver’s seat to make sure everything in this election goes off without a hitch, because as Kansas’ secretary of state—a role which, as he recently admitted to the Kansas City Star, affords him “hours of free time”—he’s in charge of elections and could oversee a recount of his own race. Per the Kansas City Star:
Kobach’s office would oversee any statewide recount after counties tabulate provisional ballots. Kansas attorneys who work in the election field say no law requires him to recuse himself from that process, but that legal and political ethics should guide him to do so if a recount takes place.
A recount is highly likely, and Kobach said Wednesday that he has no plans to recuse himself from overseeing it. He also told reporters that he wasn’t going to wait for those pesky “results of the election confirming who actually won” in order to begin his general election campaign for governor, which he acknowledged may ultimately not exist.