The second day of the trial began with an administrative ruling in favor of the Plaintiffs that allowed Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s video deposition to be played for the court, most likely, tomorrow.
Then, the Plaintiffs called Margaret Ahrens, the former co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, to the stand. Ms. Ahrens testified that the League had opposed the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act, the Kansas law that contains the documentary proof of citizenship requirements, since its inception.
Ahrens characterized the law as a “complex network of hoops,” which “would create barriers to vote.” Ahrens went on to testify that the requirement to provide documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC) was, “absolutely a blow,” to voter registration. As a result, the League, “stopped registering voters, plain and simple,” after the law went into effect in 2013.
With the midterm election on the horizon in 2014, however, some of the local League chapters began their registration efforts once again. These efforts resulted in a dramatic reduction of voters registered from previous years.
Ahrens testified that from 2012 to 2014, the Sedgwick County chapter saw a 90 percent reduction in registrations, while the Emporia chapter saw a 75 percent reduction and Shawnee’s Chapter saw a 70 percent reduction.
Before the restrictions, Ahrens added, voter registration “met the human need,” and took three to four minutes to complete. After DPOC, Ahrens testified that registration now takes about an hour. Becoming emotional several times throughout her testimony, Ahrens underscored that the League has “no experience with undocumented workers attempting to register to vote or attempting to vote.”
Later, the lead plaintiff in the case, Stephen Fish, took the stand.
Fish attempted to register to vote in August 2014, at the DMV. Upon leaving the DMV, Fish believed he was registered to vote but was informed via mail a month later that he must provide DPOC in order to complete his registration. Not possessing a birth certificate or other documentation at the time, he was unable to complete his registration.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner, Tabatha Lehman, followed Fish on the stand. Secretary Kobach appointed Lehman in 2011 to the position.
During Lehman’s examination, two cases of noncitizens attempting to vote were identified by Lehman’s office and passed on to Secretary of State’s Office.
First, E.E. who filled out a voter registration application but marked that they were not a citizen.
Second, after receiving a request to submit DPOC, A.S. replied to the inquiry writing, “I am not a citizen” and “I cannot vote,” “Thanks.”
At the time, Lehman passed these instances on to the attention of the Secretary of State’s Office but testified today that they were not attempts at voter fraud.
Also identified in Lehman’s testimony is the existence of a cumulative spreadsheet that identifies possible noncitizens who are registered to vote based upon their later nationalization.
During cross-examination, Secretary Kobach attempted to admit a summary of that spreadsheet as evidence in the case. But, on the objection from the Plaintiffs’ attorneys claiming they lacked the underlying documents for the spreadsheet, Judge Robison ruled that these documents be turned over this evening, and would rule on the validity of the spreadsheet first thing tomorrow morning.
Following Judge Robinson’s ruling, Lehman will again take the stand on the third day of the trail.