TOPEKA, KANSAS — Kris Kobach told ThinkProgress Tuesday night that voter fraud could “absolutely” be the reason he wins Kansas’ GOP primary for governor by just a few hundred votes.
As of Wednesday morning, with all counties reporting, Kobach is up by 191 votes, out of more than 311,000 cast, over Gov. Jeff Colyer.
“If you have a close race, yeah absolutely, voter fraud could swing the margin,” he told ThinkProgress at his election night party, as the votes were being counted.
He offered as explanation the testimony of a highly discredited expert who claimed in a federal trial — where a federal judge invalidated Kobach’s signature voting law — that there are thousands of illegal voters in Kansas.
“The numbers in Kansas of non-citizens — we had an expert in the trial try to estimate it and it’s in the thousands, we just don’t know how many thousands,” he said.
“If it’s a close race, illegal votes could swing any close race,” he added. “There are close legislative races routinely in Kansas decided by fewer than 10 votes.”
Kobach, currently Kansas’ secretary of state, has been one of the nation’s leading advocates for voter suppression laws and purveyors of the myth that millions of illegal votes are cast in American elections.
After Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes in the 2016 election, he appointed Kobach to help lead his abortive Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to investigate his theory that millions of non-citizens had voted, exclusively for his opponent. Though the commission found no evidence of widespread voter fraud and was disbanded, Kobach has falsely claimed that it uncovered “ample evidence.”
The reality, of course, is that Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud. And when Kobach’s signature “documentary proof of citizenship” law was struck down by a federal judge in June, Kobach was ordered to attend remedial legal classes to address his lack of basic understanding of the law.
Still, while Kobach is likely wrong that illegal votes gave him his apparent margin in Tuesday’s elections, he is inadvertently casting doubt on his own legitimacy.