Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) downplayed the prospect of thousands of voters being disenfranchised by a new state “voter ID” law, calling them “procrastinators” in video published on Thursday by Right Wing Watch.
“Nobody’s rights have been suspended,” Kobach said in the video, filmed in January during a speech for the Kansas Sovereignty Coalition. “Those 19,000 people haven’t completed their registration yet. They can complete it tomorrow and vote tomorrow if they want to. Nobody’s been denied any rights, they just haven’t finished it yet.”
New voters will be required to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documents showing they are U.S. citizens, as opposed to the federal form mandated by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) that only asks voters to state that they are citizens.
When Kobach introduced the bill in August 2013, about 12,000 voters — which he called a “pretty tiny percentage” of the state’s voters — were in danger of having their voting status thrown into limbo. But as he stated in the video, that number grew to around 19,000 by the time of his remarks.
Critics have claimed that the efforts of Kobach and officials in Arizona to implement new requirements have been politically motivated, since they disproportionately affect voters of color and elderly voters.
“Today’s decision is an important victory for the people of Arizona against the Obama administration, assuring that only Arizona residents and not illegals vote in Arizona elections,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (R) as saying in a statement on Wednesday.
In his remarks in January, Kobach asked coalition members to “not get alarmed at all by the number that the left continually throws around,” arguing that 72 percent of new voters since January 2013 have produced the necessary documentation.
“Those are the 28 percent procrastinators,” Kobach said of those who had not done so. “And I procrastinate sometimes, too. I’d probably be one if I were registering to vote. Sometimes people just put it off.”
Right Wing Watch reported that the coalition is a “Tenth Amendment group,” typically described as one that believes government programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are unconstitutional because they violate the Tenth Amendment.
Watch Kobach’s remarks, as posted on Thursday, below.