TOPEKA —Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office on Tuesday mistakenly filed an unfinished document in the case over the state’s voter registration law.
An all-caps note in the document declares a legal point is “PROBABLY NOT WORTH ARGUING.” Another section was left blank. There is a declaration that “it has been illegal in Kansas to register to vote for years.”
The office later corrected the document, which was signed by Garrett Roe, a deputy assistant secretary of state.
“It appears that a member of the legal team originally filed a draft copy instead of the final version of the document,” said Moriah Day, Kobach’s spokesman. “A corrected copy has since been filed. I have no additional comment on the draft that was mistakenly filed.”
Last month, Kobach defended himself from the American Civil Liberties Union in a trial over a law that requires people to show a proof of citizenship document when they register to vote. Roe and chief legal counsel Sue Becker assisted Kobach and were criticized by the judge and observers for their routine failures to introduce evidence properly.
In post-trial filings, both sides offer written arguments for U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson to consider before ruling in the case.
The trial challenged Kobach to prove claims of widespread voter fraud. The document filed by Roe proposes dozens of legal conclusions, such as the argument that even a small number of illegal voters could alter a close election.
One of the numbered sections in Roe’s initial filing lists several plaintiffs in the case, including the League of Women Voters, followed by “lack standing?” and the all-caps note that says it isn’t worth arguing. That section is left out of the corrected document.
The statement that registration is illegal in Kansas, which could be clarified with a reference to “noncitizens,” remains unaltered. The wording prompted a jibe on Twitter from ACLU attorney Sophia Lin Lakin.
“Well sometimes I agree we’re moving towards an authoritarian regime but didn’t realize Kansas was ahead of the curve,” Lakin said.