Fish v. Kobach per Zachary Mueller

Craig Lubow interviews journalist Zachary Mueller and RadioActive co-host Spencer Graves regarding the Fish v. Kobach trial in the Robert J. Dole US Federal Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas.  

At issue in this trial is whether the documentary proof of citizenship requirements (DPOC) of the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, enacted in 2011 at the insistence of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (“Motor voter”).  The plaintiffs, led by Steven Wayne Fish, claim that some 35,000 new voter registrations were denied, because the Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) did not record whether the applicant had presented documentary proof of citizenship, as required by the Kansas SAFE law;  at least one witness at the trial testified that he had had his birth certificate with him when he applied for a Kansas driver’s license and to register to vote, though he did not remember if he had actually shown it to the DMV official.  

Trial hearings ran March 6-19, 2018.  A ruling is expected before the August 7 primary.  

On March 20, there was a separate hearing on whether Kobach should be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with court orders from 2016.  In 2017 he was fined $1,000 for failing to comply with a temporary injunction, upheld by the Tenth Circuit in Denver when Kobach appealed.  On March 20, he reported that he had given verbal instructions to the County election officials to treat the “motor voters” the same as other voters but acknowledged that some may not have done so.  When Chief District Judge Julie Robinson, a G. W. Bush appointee, suggested he had failed to comply with her orders from 2016, Kobach replied that she had not put it in writing.  She noted that he had said he would comply in a telephone hearing, then asked, “Why would I order something in writing that you’ve told me is being taken care of? … (As an officer of the court) you are under an ethical obligation to tell me the truth.”

A ruling on contempt will be issued later.  

For more on Mr. Mueller’s coverage of this trial and the contempt hearing, see the web site of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (


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