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Judge says no decision for at least a month in Kris Kobach’s Kansas voter ID case

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Lawyers presented closing arguments on Monday in the trial of a legal challenge to a Kansas law requiring proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, with opponents calling the statute illegal and supporters deeming it necessary to fight voter fraud.

The seven-day, non-jury trial in Kansas City drew to a conclusion as U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said she was taking the case under submission and would not render a decision for at least a month.

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The Kansas law, which took effect in 2013, requires individuals to present a U.S. passport, birth certificate or other proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Several other Republican-led state legislatures have enacted similar measures in recent years.

Critics argue that voter ID laws are designed to suppress groups of the electorate that tend to support the Democratic Party, such as the young and minorities. Proponents say they help ensure the integrity of elections.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in February 2016 challenging the Kansas law as a violation of the National Voter Registration Act, which allows individuals to register to vote at state motor vehicles offices with no more documentation than they would need to obtain a driver’s license.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who is running for governor and is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, argued in court that 129 non-U.S. citizens had voted or registered to vote in Kansas since 2000, a number he said was merely the “tip of the iceberg.”

He cited expert witnesses who testified for the state that extrapolations from the 129 known cases could mean a total number of illegally registered voters ranging from 1,067 to 33,001 in Kansas, given the state’s population.

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But lawyers for the ACLU contended that all but a handful of those 129 people were registered due to clerical errors, misunderstandings or other unintentional reasons, and that most did not vote.

“That iceberg, upon closer inspection, is an ice cube,” ACLU lead attorney Dale Ho said in his closing argument. “There is no evidence it is in the thousands, as Secretary Kobach asserts.”

Kobach countered that even a small number of illegal voters could throw the outcome of an election. He also argued that the vast majority of Kansas residents have and can readily obtain the documents they need under the ID law.

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“There is no evidence that people who are U.S. citizens are prevented from voting by virtue of the Kansas law,” Kobach said in closing.

The ACLU has estimated that more than 35,000 citizens in Kansas were blocked from registering to vote from 2013 to 2016.   

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Kobach previously served on a commission appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud. Trump contended, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election he won. The commission was shut down in January. Most state election officials and election law experts say that U.S. voter fraud is rare.

Lawmakers in 23 states have imposed new voting restrictions since 2010, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

This year, lawmakers in eight states have introduced bills imposing photo identification requirements for voting, but in two of those states the bills failed to win enough support for passage, the Brennan Center said.

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Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Kan.; Additional reporting by ALex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler


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Miami-Dade cop relieved of duty after punching irate woman at Florida airport

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A bad situation turned worse, after a woman missed her flight at Miami International Airport. When police were called, things got even worse.

According to the Miami Herald, body-camera footage, which surfaced Wednesday evening, showed the officer hitting the woman yelling at him.

“You acting like you white when you really Black...what you want to do?” the woman without a mask says.

She then stepped very close to the officer, putting her face against his and that's when he struck her in the face.

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Appellate Judge says Mary Trump’s tell-all book can be released

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Yesterday, a judge paused Mary Trump's tell-all book on President Donald Trump and his family, but Wednesday evening, a New York appellate judge ruled that Simon & Schuster could move forward with releasing the book.

According to the New York Times, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man will be released in four weeks, on schedule.

"Justice Alan Scheinkman’s ruling, however, put off addressing a central aspect of the bitter spat about the manuscript that has been roiling all month in the Trump family: whether, by writing the book, Ms. Trump violated a confidentiality agreement put in place nearly 20 years ago after a struggle over the will of her grandfather, Fred Trump Sr., Donald Trump’s father," the report said.

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Trump staff had an inquisition for healthcare workers for Tulsa rally — demanding to know if they leaked staff COVID story

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President Donald Trump was so incensed that the media learned of his staffers who caught COVID-19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma that he had a kind of inquisition for healthcare workers to investigate if they linked the story.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that those familiar to his reaction said that outside of the BOK center, Trump campaign staff were being tested before the event. When the information was released, they scrambled, quizzing who leaked the information about the positive cases.

Healthcare workers were "then given a different list of people to test, according to two people with direct knowledge of the events who, like others in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations," said the Post.

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