TOPEKA — With Kansas on the hook for $1.9 million in legal fees stemming from a costly battle over a controversial voting law touted by former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, state representatives cast blame Wednesday on the attorney general and themselves for allowing the situation to reach this point.
Kobach persuaded lawmakers in 2013 to pass his signature law, which required new voters to present proof of citizenship, using baseless voter fraud claims to support the initiative. However, the law did nothing to prevent very rare cases of voter fraud in Kansas, instead blocking more than 35,000 eligible voters from participating in elections.
U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson struck down the law in 2018 and held Kobach in contempt of court. When current Secretary of State Schwab took office, he and Attorney General Derek Schmidt continued to defend the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case after an appellate court upheld Robinson’s ruling.