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Kris Kobach asks federal appeals court to reinstall voter ID rules in Kansas

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Kansas on Tuesday asked a U.S. appeals court to reinstate rules requiring proof of U.S. citizenship from people registering to vote, the latest political battle over stringent identification laws enacted in Republican-led states ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The mandate that Kansans present passports, birth certificates or other proof of citizenship when registering to vote while obtaining driver’s licenses was challenged by a U.S. District Court judge in May.

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Her ruling restored the right to vote in the Nov. 8 election for thousands of people who were asked if they wanted to register while at motor vehicle offices, but not required to submit the additional documentation. Judge Julie Robinson ordered those people to be re-registered. She said that Kansas could identify only three non-citizens who voted between 2003 and the onset of the law in 2013.

Kansas’ law is one of the strictest voter identification statutes in the country, making the state a symbol for mostly Republican Party supporters who say the rules are meant to prevent voter fraud. Opponents, mostly Democrats, say they discriminate against minorities.

“Every time a noncitizen votes, it effectively cancels out the vote of a citizen,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in court filings ahead of Tuesday’s oral arguments.

In arguments before the Denver-based U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kobach said, “We don’t need to be authorized by the federal government” to set up rules to manage state and local elections.

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Arguing for the lower court’s decision to be upheld, the American Civil Liberties Union specifically targeted a portion of Kansas law that deals with people who register to vote at motor vehicle department offices.

The ACLU argued that the requirement conflicts with a federal law from 1993 aimed at making it easier for people to register to vote by doing so when they apply for a driver’s license.

Because that law does not require people to bring more documentation than they would need to get a driver’s license, Robinson ruled that about 18,000 people whose registration had been invalidated by the state should be re-registered.

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Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump, who earlier this month said that voters who opposed his candidacy are “going to vote 10 times,” is asking supporters to volunteer to be election observers at the polls. He routinely calls Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton “crooked” and has said that if he loses, it will be because the system is rigged against him.

Led by lawyers from the ACLU, opponents of the voter identification laws have filed lawsuits in several states, successfully overturning or delaying implementation of some statutes.

Last month, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that voters who do not have photo identification will be able to vote in the presidential election, and the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a North Carolina law requiring voters to bring a photo ID to the polls.

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Seventeen states have put new voting restrictions in place since the last presidential contest, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Grant McCool)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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