Kansas to pay $1.4M to ACLU, attorneys over Kobach voter registration law

Kansas to pay $1.4M to ACLU, attorneys over Kobach voter registration law
© Getty Images

A federal judge has ordered Kansas to pay more than $1.4 million in attorney fees and expenses after the courts struck down a state law pushed by former Secretary of State Kris Kobach that required people to prove their citizenship to register to vote.

The agreement caps off a five-year legal battle over a law championed by Kobach that required Kansas residents to show either their birth certificate or passport when registering to vote. A federal judge ruled against the law in 2018 and the Supreme Court declined to take up an appeal.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuits argued that the law’s proof-of-citizenship requirement led to thousands of eligible voters being barred from participating in elections, because they lacked the proper documentation. 


The state and the group of attorneys, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), reached an agreement and submitted it to the court on Friday. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson signed off on the deal on Wednesday.

At $1.4 million, the agreement is less than half as much as the $3.3 million that the group of lawyers had initially sought.

Kobach, who previously led former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE’s voter fraud commission, personally defended the voter registration law throughout much of the litigation. In 2018, he was held in contempt and was ordered by Robinson to pay $26,000 in sanctions.

In 2018, while he was still serving as secretary of state, Kobach won the GOP nomination for governor. He went on to lose to Democrat Laura Kelly in that year’s general election. 

Kobach is currently running for the Republican nomination for Kansas attorney general.