Advocate of Voter Suppression Speaks to White Suppremacist Group

Advocate of Voter Suppression Speaks to White Suppremacist Group
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

Voter suppression expert Kris Kobach speaks to white nationalist publishing group

Sure, sure. Tell me more about how voting rights restrictions have nothing to do with race.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — the same guy who wants to purge 30,000 people from his state’s voter rolls and sued the federal government (unsuccessfully) because he really, really likes requiring proof of citizenship for voter registrations — reportedly spoke at a conference for Social Contract Press, a white nationalist publishing house, last week. From TalkingPointsMemo:

The Social Contract Press is a “a Michigan-based publishing house that routinely puts out race-baiting articles penned by well known white nationalists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups. Its publisher is John Tanton, a prominent white nationalist and anti-immigration activist.

Throughout his time as Secretary of State, Kobach has proven adept at implementing particularly anti-Latino versions of voter suppression and intimidation. He established a voter fraud website where Kansans could report cases of voter fraud, but the site doesn’t give citizens the option of reporting the one kind of voter fraud that actually happens in Kansas on a semi-regular basis: misinformation campaigns that primarily target communities of color. He fought for, and was granted, unprecedented authority as Secretary of State to prosecute cases of voter fraud that local officials had declined to pursue. And perhaps most significantly, as referenced above, his insistence on Kansas requiring proof of citizenship in order to vote has left 30,000 otherwise eligible Kansan voters in a state of electoral limbo. Since proof of citizenship cannot be required for voting in federal elections, it was originally thought that voters who registered without their birth certificate would be kept on a separate list, and would still be allowed to vote for federal offices. Instead, Kobach is trying to purge all of those voters from the rolls entirely, a move that voting rights advocates are staying his move — and potentially the proof of citizenship requirement itself — are totally illegal.

With that in mind, Kobach’s appearance at an event for a group that has some — let’s call them Kobachian — worries about illegal immigrants makes a great deal of sense. Now if only he’d drop the pretense that his restrictions on ballot access have anything to do with the integrity of Kansan elections. If that were true, he’d be looking a bit harder into the electoral irregularities in his state for which there’s actual evidence.

 - Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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