Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wanted President Trump’s administration to change a federal voting law to make it more difficult for people to register to vote, according to new documents that were ordered to be released by a federal court.
The documents, which were obtained through a lawsuit from the ACLU, show that election integrity commission Vice Chair Kobach wanted the administration to change the 1993 National Voter Registration Act to allow states to require new voters to provide proof of citizenship.
The law was created to require states to offer registration at the DMV and other federal agencies in order to increase participation.
Kobach infamously met with Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey last November, days after the president was elected. He was pictured carrying a white paper called the “Kobach Strategic Plan for the Next 365 Days.”
Parts of the paper showed Kobach, a candidate for Secretary of Homeland Security at the time, listed items like “extreme vetting” and tracking “all aliens from high risk areas,” along with cutting the “intake of Syrian refugees to zero” and deporting a “record number of criminal aliens in the first year.” And, of course, the “rapid build” of a wall along the US-Mexico border.
One other part of the list included a section called “Stop Aliens From Voting,” which included creating an “Amendment to National Voter Registration Act to promote proof-of-citizenship requirements.”
A federal court ordered Kobach to release the white paper, along with the proposed amendment.
The documents show that Kobach sought to make registering to vote more difficult using a proposal based on a law Republicans pushed through in Kobach’s home state of Kansas.
The law, which was enacted in 2013, requires a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship in order to be eligible to register to vote.
The law prevented one in seven Kansas citizens attempting to register to vote from doing so, roughly 30,000 people. Almost half those affected were under the age of 30.
A federal court intervened, and blocked part of the law because “there was an almost certain risk that thousands of otherwise qualified Kansans would be unable to vote in November.”
Kobach appealed the court ruling, arguing that “the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive.” Despite his claims, he has only prosecuted two non-citizens in his state for voting illegally. Kansas has 1.8 million registered voters.
Kobach vigorously attempted to hide the document from the public, at one point claiming “no such document exists.” He was fined by a court for “deceptive conduct and lack of candor.” When he tried to appeal, another federal judge said Kobach showed a “pattern” of “misleading the court.”
ACLU Voting Rights Project director called out Kobach’s blatant attempt to conceal their end goal, which is making it more difficult for people to vote.
“When you connect all the dots, it tells you what the commission is all about,” Ho told the Kansas City Star. “The entire time he’s been saying, ‘We don’t have any predetermined policy outcomes.’ … This has been the end game since Day 1.”
Macah Kubic, the executive director of the ACLU’s Kansas chapter, added that the documents “reveal that Sec. Kobach aims to replicate [the state’s] voter suppression tactics–which have already disenfranchised thousands of Kansas citizens–on a national scale.”