Case Studies in Voter Suppression: Profiling Voter Suppressors

In order to bring attention to the nationwide problem of voter suppression, it is important to call attention to the politicians who are most notorious for restricting voter access.

President Donald Trump speaks alongside then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (L) during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in Washington, D.C., July 19, 2017. (Getty/Saul Loeb)
President Donald Trump speaks alongside then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (L) during the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in Washington, D.C., July 19, 2017. (Getty/Saul Loeb)

This issue brief contains corrections.

Voter suppression has a long and storied history in the United States. It has become a shameful tradition that persists every election year and comes in many forms—such as strict, discriminatory voter identification requirements; mass voter purges; poll closures in racially diverse neighborhoods; and reduced voting hours, including the elimination of Sunday early voting.

Barriers to voter registration and voting, along with other suppressive measures, have the potential to disenfranchise all eligible Americans but tend to disproportionately affect people of color, low-income Americans, and young people. Republican politicians have historically championed oppressive voting measures; in an effort to implement policies that corrupt free and fair elections in their party’s favor, they have often made claims of “widespread voter fraud” that are unsubstantiated—and such voter fraud, in truth, is virtually nonexistent.1 All Americans care about the security of the nation’s elections, but politicians should not sacrifice eligible Americans’ fundamental right to vote in the process.

Voter suppressors can be found in all corners of the country, at the local, state, and federal levels. And while most voter suppressors attempt to hide their discriminatory efforts to restrict access to the franchise, others are more blatant in their attempts. This issue brief profiles three of the nation’s most notorious voter suppressors who have made careers out of making voting harder for historically underrepresented groups:

  1. Outgoing Florida Gov. and Sen.-elect Rick Scott (R) *
  2. Former Georgia Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Brian Kemp (R)
  3. Outgoing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R)

All three of these individuals ran for state or federal office during this year’s general midterm elections and used or attempted to use voter suppression tactics during 2018 and years prior. All three men also, at some point during their campaigns this year, failed to recuse themselves from overseeing their own elections or recounts and the certification of their races.2 Moreover, shortly after the election, Rick Scott and Brian Kemp made baseless accusations alleging that their opponents were attempting to “steal” the elections simply because the other candidates requested that all votes cast by eligible voters be properly counted before the results were finalized.3 In making the accusations, neither Scott nor Kemp provided any evidence of wrongdoing. In fact, in Florida, election administrators and law enforcement themselves said no election fraud occurred.4

To be clear, ensuring that every vote cast by an eligible American is counted does not constitute election stealing. Instead, counting every eligible vote is fundamental to the integrity of the democratic process. Rhetoric by politicians that baselessly attacks the integrity of elections is irresponsible and dangerous, as it threatens public confidence in election outcomes and could negatively affect eligible potential voters’ propensity to participate in future elections.

Scott and Kemp ultimately won their respective races for Florida’s Senate seat and Georgia’s governorship. And although Kobach ultimately lost to Democrat Laura Kelly in his bid to become Kansas’ next governor, he has been shortlisted to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which would have dire consequences for federal voting rights.5 All three men continue to hold significant political power and influence and are likely to resume their voter suppression efforts at the federal and state levels in the coming months and years.

It is critical that those responsible for voter suppression are called out for their actions, thus deterring them from restricting voting access in the future. Moreover, highlighting these individuals will help inform potential voters about how oppressive policies influence election outcomes.

Outgoing Florida Gov. and Sen.-elect Rick Scott

Outgoing Florida Gov. and Sen.-elect Rick Scott is a repeat offender when it comes to voter suppression. After becoming governor in 2011, Scott made it his personal mission to disenfranchise justice-involved individuals who have paid their debt to society, as well as other historically underrepresented groups. Many of his voting rights policies have been described as reminiscent of Jim Crow laws.6 For example, in 2007, Florida’s then-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) established automatic rights restoration for formerly incarcerated people who had completed sentences for certain felonies; more than 154,000 formerly incarcerated people had their voting rights restored during Crist’s term.7 Unfortunately, upon taking office, Scott scuttled Crist’s rights restoration rule and established one of the strictest felon disenfranchisement rules in the country.8 Indeed, compared with the number of people whose voting rights were restored under Crist’s tenure, only 3,005 formerly incarcerated people had their rights restored during Scott’s time in office.9 During Scott’s tenure, Florida’s disenfranchised population had grown by 150,000 people by 2016,10 at that time accounting for 27 percent of the disenfranchised population nationwide,11 nearly one-third of whom were African American.12 In fact, 1 in every 5 African Americans in Florida was disenfranchised during Scott’s gubernatorial term.13 Eventually, in March 2018, a federal court was forced to intervene, ordering Florida officials to dismantle and fix the state’s “fatally flawed” restoration process.14 On Election Day, Floridians took a stand against Scott’s Machiavellian disenfranchisement policies by approving Amendment 4, which will automatically restore voting rights to nearly 1.2 million people in Florida with prior felony convictions.15

As governor of Florida, Scott did not technically oversee most aspects of election administration in the state. However, as governor, he was responsible for appointing Florida’s secretary of state. As a result, he has directly contributed to the poor election policies that have made Florida elections the “laughing stock of the world.”16

Under Scott’s leadership, Florida engaged in mass voter purges that disproportionately targeted communities of color. As just one example, in 2012, Florida officials used motor vehicle databases to compile lists of more than 180,000 people suspected of being noncitizens.17 The state threatened to remove these individuals from the voter rolls unless they could prove citizenship status, an unreasonable burden that could have resulted in eligible Florida voters being prevented from voting through no fault of their own.18 The state’s lists were based on “limited and often-outdated citizenship information that carried a high risk of making lawful voters look like noncitizens.”19 As reported by the Miami Herald, 87 percent of those whose eligibility was questioned were people of color.20 All of Florida’s 67 county election officials, including 30 Republicans, refused to comply due to the lists’ inaccuracies.21 The Miami-Dade election supervisor, Penelope Townsley, reported an error rate of more than 30 percent for that county alone, while another election supervisor said that he and other supervisors agreed: “The list is bad. And this is illegal.”22 The state was later found by a federal court to have violated federal prohibitions against engaging in systematic purges too close to Election Day.23

Also in 2012, Gov. Scott oversaw the implementation of a law that cut the state’s early voting period from 14 days to 8 days and eliminated voting on the last Sunday before Election Day. Early voting, particularly Sunday voting, is especially popular among African American communities.24 As a result, early voting participation for African Americans dropped by 4.1 percent, and participation for Latinos dropped by 4.6 percent, relative to 2008.25 This year, Gov. Scott, who was running for senator, attempted to prevent college students from casting ballots by banning early voting opportunities on college campuses throughout the state. In striking the law down as discriminatory and illegal in July 2018, a federal judge cited “a stark pattern of discrimination” in Scott’s efforts to disenfranchise voters.26

Moreover, Scott proved that he is not above engaging in voter intimidation and unethical behavior to benefit himself. On election night this year—with only 0.26 percentage points separating Gov. Scott and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in their race for U.S. Senate—Scott deployed police officers to Broward and Palm Beach counties to monitor ballot counting in an apparent attempt to intimidate.27

Sen. Nelson made numerous attempts to counter the oppressive efforts of Scott and Scott’s secretary of state, filing several lawsuits during and after the election in an effort to ensure that all ballots were fairly counted before elections are certified—much to the chagrin of Scott, who was leading in initial vote counts.28 As just one example, Sen. Nelson filed a lawsuit after it was revealed that Florida officials initially discarded large numbers of voted absentee ballots and provisional ballots for purported signature mismatches. At least 4,000 absentee ballots were initially discarded on this basis.29 Laws that require a voter’s signature to exactly match that which the state already has on file disproportionately affect certain groups, including the elderly and young people, as well as Americans with disabilities.30 Some election officials receive forensic signature training to assist them in determining matches, but the process often lacks standards and is in many cases based upon subjective determinations.31 U.S. District Chief Judge Mark Walker agreed, and in ruling that voters must be given the opportunity to “cure” any signature-related problems, proclaimed:

[T]his is a case about the precious and fundamental right to vote—the right preservative of all other rights. And it is about the right of a voter to have his or her vote counted. There is no doubt there must be election laws … There is no doubt that election officials must make certain calls, under the rules, that deserve review. And there is no doubt some of those calls may hinge on highly subjective factors. The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures—with no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection—passes constitutional muster. The answer is simple. It does not.32

Scott appealed Judge Walker’s ruling on November 15, 2018.33 However, the 11th Circuit agreed with Judge Walker that voters must have the opportunity to cure any signature problems.34

Former Georgia Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Brian Kemp

Like Rick Scott, former Georgia Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Brian Kemp is one of the most infamous voter suppressors in the country. As a seasoned politician, Kemp knows who his voters are, and he has crafted policies that make it harder for his critics to cast ballots against him. As the highest-ranking election official in Georgia, Kemp oversaw all aspects of election administration, including discriminatory voter registration and voting requirements, as well as Election Day problems that kept historically underrepresented groups from voting. Despite his role as the chief election official in the state, Kemp initially refused to step down from overseeing the 2018 gubernatorial election between himself and challenger Stacey Abrams (D).35 Kemp only agreed to step down after Election Day, when all administrative decisions, including the allocation of voting machines and polling places, had already been determined by his office and employees under his supervision.36

After Kemp took office in 2010, Georgia closed 214 polling locations across the state, making it harder for poor people and the elderly to travel to other voting sites.37 Seven of the locations that experienced closures were heavily African American. At least one longtime Georgia voter reported he would not participate in the 2016 elections due to mobility challenges and difficulty traveling longer distances to his new polling places.38 Moreover, in 2016, Secretary Kemp removed tens of thousands of people from Georgia’s voter rolls based on minor discrepancies in voter registration forms. Nearly 35,000 voter registrations were canceled or placed in pending status and slated for removal.39 After significant public pressure, the state agreed in September 2016 to discontinue its removal process and to allow Georgians whose voter registrations had been canceled dating back to at least 2015 to vote in the 2016 general election.40 Of those whose registration was targeted, more than 60 percent were African American, making African Americans eight times more likely to be affected than whites.41 Asian Americans and Latinos were more than six times more likely than white voters to be affected.

Kemp continues to torment voters with threats to and outright violations of their fundamental right to vote. Young voters overwhelmingly supported Kemp’s opponent, Democrat Stacy Abrams, in the 2018 midterm, and they faced significant obstacles registering to vote and making their voices heard.42 Several students at historically black Albany State University were not allowed to vote even though their voter registration was up-to-date and easily confirmable on the Georgia secretary of state’s website.43 Many others were told that their registration couldn’t be found and were subsequently given provisional ballots.44 Facing legal challenge after experiencing long lines and voting machine malfunctions, two polling places near historically black Spelman and Morehouse colleges stayed open until 10:00 p.m.45 Some out-of-state students even reported receiving absentee ballots after the deadline had passed or—worse—not receiving them at all. As a result, in Dougherty County, a judge ordered officials to accept ballots postmarked on Election Day and received by November 9.46

To date, Kemp has purged an estimated 1.5 million people from Georgia’s voter rolls, 107,000 of whom were removed simply for having not voted in the two previous general elections.47 In 2018, 53,000 voter registrants were placed in pending status by Kemp because of minor misspellings or missing hyphens on their registration forms.48 An estimated 70 percent of those affected were African American. On November 2, 2018, a federal judge intervened, citing “the differential treatment inflicted on a group of individuals who are predominantly minorities.”49 However, those with pending registration statuses were still forced to prove eligibility, such as citizenship, before they could cast a ballot on Election Day. Proving citizenship may be difficult for Americans lacking access to expensive or hard-to-obtain documents such as birth certificates, passports, or naturalization papers. Furthermore, despite long lines and machine malfunctions at several polling places, more than 1,800 voting machines were left sitting unused in a warehouse in three of the state’s largest and most heavily Democratic counties on Election Day. Georgia officials also failed to provide power cords for voting machines in Gwinnett County.50 These problems resulted in long wait times of several hours in predominantly African American neighborhoods, forcing some would-be voters to abandon the polling place before casting their ballot.51

Georgia also summarily discarded hundreds of voted absentee ballots without proper notification during the 2018 midterm elections because voters’ signatures on their ballots did not exactly match the signatures the state had on file. Of those discarded ballots, more than one-third came from Gwinnett County, where more than half of the rejected ballots belonged to African American or Asian American voters.52 On October 24, a federal judge ruled that the state must end its practice of summarily discarding ballots due to signature problems.53 But Georgia fell under heavy scrutiny again after reports surfaced that election officials were discarding voted absentee ballots simply for having minor discrepancies such as missing or incorrect birth years.54 Gwinnett County, for example, initially discarded 1,587 absentee votes on this basis, accounting for nearly one-third of the state’s total.55 Again, a federal court was forced to intervene and ruled that those ballots must be counted.56

Kemp’s policies and rhetoric have fostered an environment that perpetuates intimidation and hate within the state, particularly against African Americans. In November 2018, the Idaho-based white supremacist website Road to Power released a robocall in response to Oprah Winfrey’s canvassing for Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. In answering the phone, a person would hear: “This is the magical Negro Oprah Winfrey asking you to make my fellow Negress Stacey Abrams the governor of Georgia,” along with racist and anti-Semitic statements, such as a reference to Abrams as “a poor man’s Aunt Jemima.”57 Kemp himself engaged in racially based fearmongering by tweeting on November 5, 2018, “The Black Panther Party is backing my opponent. RT if you think Abrams is TOO EXTREME for Georgia!”58 The tweet included a photo shared by Breitbart News, originally from the Atlanta New Black Panther Party, depicting armed African American men and a “Stacy Abrams Governor” sign.59 In a Facebook post that included the photo, the Atlanta New Black Panther Party stated: “And relax, before you make any assumptions we are not working for & we did not plan this event with either campaign, and we have members with different political views both here in Atlanta as well as nationwide.”60

Finally, Kemp has played upon the very real threat of election interference by foreign adversaries for his own gain. On November 4, Kemp announced that the state was investigating Georgia’s Democratic Party for attempting to hack the state’s voter registration files—without presenting any corroborating evidence.61 The state Democrats called it “a reckless and unethical ploy” designed by Kemp to discredit his opponent.62 It is worth noting that Georgia is one of only five states still using the infamous paperless electronic voting machines, which can be easily hacked and manipulated.63 Kemp, in his role as Georgia’s chief election officer, has made no meaningful effort to overhaul the machines during his tenure, despite repeated warnings from experts and lawmakers that they leave the state—and its voters—vulnerable to attack.64 As described by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has emerged as a federal leader on election security:

Secretary of State Kemp has shown a total disregard for election security … He seems to see a personal benefit to ignoring the urgent warnings from experts and intelligence agencies about the threats to Georgia’s election system.65

Abrams, the Democratic candidate and Kemp’s gubernatorial opponent, initially refused to concede the election, citing the widespread voter suppression that Kemp waged against eligible Georgian voters during the lead-up to the election.66 Although Abrams ultimately did not succeed in beating Kemp, she spoke out strongly against his methods and successfully challenged his unfair practices in court. As just one example, Abrams was victorious in stopping Kemp from certifying the election results before all votes had been counted and 10 days earlier than state law requires.67 Abrams is reportedly gearing up to file a lawsuit against Kemp based on a Georgia law that allows candidates who lose their respective races to challenge results based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.” As described by Abrams, “In the coming days, we will be filing a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”68 In response, Kemp said, “The election is over and hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward … We can no longer dwell on the divisive politics of the past but must focus on Georgia’s bright and promising future.”69

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

Finishing out the trifecta of infamous voter suppressors is former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, dubbed the “king of voter suppression” by the American Civil Liberties Union.70 For years, Kobach has relied upon discriminatory tactics to keep eligible Americans—particularly Americans of color—from participating in elections. He is also notorious for his less-than-ethical behavior. In April 2017, a federal magistrate fined Kobach $1,000 and reprimanded him for his “deceptive conduct and lack of candor.”71 Kobach appealed the magistrate’s order, but it was upheld by a federal judge in July 2017.72 One year later, in June 2018, Kobach was ordered by a different federal judge to take more hours of continuing legal education (CLE) classes, citing Kobach’s “well-documented history of avoiding this Court’s orders” and his failure to understand even basic rules of legal evidence during court hearings, a notable admonishment for the Yale Law School-educated lawyer.**73 Kobach’s office has appealed the ruling, but the case remains pending.74

During the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary election, Kobach proved that he will suppress the voting rights of anyone who gets in his way. For example, when he was leading opponent Gov. Jeff Colyer by only a handful of votes, Kobach ordered election officials not to count mailed ballots cast by Republican or unaffiliated voters with smudged postmarks.75 Kobach also ordered election officials not to count provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters, which contradicted state law.76 Although Kobach initially refused to recuse himself from overseeing a recount of the race, he ultimately did so after significant public outcry.77

Although Kobach lost his gubernatorial bid in November 2018 to challenger Laura Kelly (D), he is reportedly on the shortlist to replace Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. attorney general, which would have catastrophic consequences for eligible voters nationwide.78 For instance, Kobach is the architect of Kansas’ documentary proof of citizenship law, which was struck down by a federal court in 2018 for violating federal law. Kobach’s law required voter registrants to provide documentation proving citizenship—such as a passport, a birth certificate, or naturalization papers—before being added to the state voter rolls even though Americans are already required to affirm their citizenship under penalty of perjury to be registered to vote.** One survey found that as many as 7 percent of American citizens, 13 million in all, do not have easy access to these kinds of documents, while nearly 9 percent of voting-age African Americans—around 2 million people—lack access to birth certificates and passports, compared with 5.5 percent of whites.79 Kobach’s documentary proof of citizenship requirement threatened the voter registrations of more than 30,000 people, which was 14 percent of all voter registrations from 2013 to 2015.80 Of those, more than 12,000 registrants were purged from Kansas’ voter lists.81 Had a federal court not intervened, up to 50,000 people could have been prevented from voting in the 2016 general election.82 Kobach’s documentary proof of citizenship law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court earlier this year.83 An appeal remains pending.84

Although a federal judge struck down Kansas’ illegal documentary proof of citizenship voter registration requirement in June 2018, the state’s strict voter ID requirement remained in place on Election Day.85 Voters in Kansas without the requisite ID were required to vote on a provisional ballot and present ID before the canvassing board met or else have their ballot discarded. In 2016, Kansas discarded provisional ballots at a rate that was 8.5 percent higher than the national average.86 In October 2018, Kansas officials moved the last remaining polling location in Dodge City—a majority-Hispanic community—outside the city limits and far away from public transportation. Compounding the problem, officials sent mailers to newly registered voters, incorrectly informing them that they were allowed to vote at the old location.87 Furthermore, under Kobach’s leadership, the actual process of voting was mired in confusion and major mishaps that prevented some eligible Americans from making their voices heard during the 2018 midterms. Potential voters abandoned their posts at polling places on Election Day in Johnson County, Kansas, after some electronic poll books—which are used to check in voters—ceased to function during the early hours, while at least one polling place handed out the wrong ballot for a period of time.88

Kobach is also famous for designing the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which, as one commentator noted, “has evolved into a tool for shoring up claims of voter fraud instead of its original intention of keeping voter rolls accurate.”89 The Interstate Crosscheck system compares voter lists across a handful of states to detect instances of double registrations or illegal voting. The system’s minimal search criteria, which, in practice, often consider only first and last names and birthdates, result in eligible Americans—mostly people of color—being misidentified as potential illegal voters.90 African Americans living in states that rely on Crosscheck have a 1 in 9 chance of being flagged as potentially ineligible because African Americans tend to have more common last names.91 If a voter is Hispanic or Asian American, their chances increase to 1 in 6 and 1 in 7, respectively.92

Kris Kobach’s championing of discriminatory laws and initiatives is unsurprising considering his long history of oppressing historically underrepresented groups. Kobach played a key role, for example, in establishing the George W. Bush administration’s “Muslim registry,” or “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System,” which required immigrants from some Middle Eastern nations to register with the federal government.93 He was also the architect of Arizona’s controversial “show me your papers” law, or S.B. 1070. The law, which allowed police officers to request proof of citizenship from any person they had “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally, was partially struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 for being discriminatory.94 Furthermore, Kobach has ties to white supremacists and extremist groups. Kobach, for example, was a featured speaker at an October 2015 event hosted by the Social Contract Press, which publishes the work of white nationalists, and previously worked as legal counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose leadership has expressed support for racial quotas.95


The three men described above are among the worst voter suppressors in the country and have played crucial roles in overseeing elections in their respective states. Although some estimates have attempted to gauge exactly how many individuals were disenfranchised by one or more of their policies, the true number of eligible Americans who were dissuaded or prevented from voting due to the voter suppression efforts of these men is unknown.96 For too long, these men have corrupted the electoral process for their own gain. Enough is enough.

Danielle Root is the voting rights manager for Democracy and Government at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Aadam Barclay is an intern at the Action Fund.

* Correction, November 26, 2018: This brief has been updated throughout to reflect that Rick Scott is the outgoing governor of Florida.

** Correction, November 28, 2018: This brief has been updated to reference Kris Kobach’s CLE classes and documentary proof of citizenship law.



  1. Christopher Ingraham, “Here are nine investigations on voter fraud that found virtually nothing,” The Washington Post, January 25, 2017, available at
  2. Avery Anapol, “Kobach refuses to recuse himself from recount effort,” The Hill, August 8, 2018, available at; Michael Burke, “Nelson calls on Scott to recuse himself in Florida recount,” The Hill, November 12, 2018, available at; Gregory Krieg, “Kemp refuses to recuse if Georgia governor race with Abrams goes to a recount,” CNN, October 23, 2018, available at
  3. Vanessa Williams, “Tensions high between Kemp and Abrams teams as Georgia awaits final vote count in governor’s race,” The Washington Post, November 14, 2018, available at; Kyle Swenson, “After Trump and Scott cry ‘fraud,’ critics pounce on Broward County’s troubled election history,” The Washington Post, November 9, 2018, available at See also Matt Dixon, “Rick Scott’s monitors agree with state cops: No Florida voter fraud,” Politico, November 10, 2018, available at; Avi Selk, Vanessa Williams, and Amy Gardner, “Brian Kemp’s office orders ‘hacking’ probe of Georgia Democrats on eve of election he’s competing in,” The Washington Post, November 4, 2018, available at; Alex Daugherty, “Trump, Scott and Rubio continue to push claims of Florida voter fraud without evidence,” Miami Herald, November 12, 2018, available at
  4. Jane C. Timm, “Vote fraud fact check: Trump’s bogus (so far) claims about Florida,” NBC News, November 12, 2018, available at
  5. Nolan D. McCaskill, “Here are the possible replacements for Jeff Sessions,” Politico, November 7, 2018, available at; Jim Doblin, “Report says Trump considering Kobach for U.S. attorney general,” KSNT, November 7, 2018, available at
  6. Tampa Bay Times, “Editorial: Florida’s Jim Crow governor,” March 30, 2018, available at
  7. Derek Hawkins, “Florida’s ban on ex-felons voting is unconstitutional and biased, federal judge rules,” The Washington Post, February 2, 2018, available at
  8. Traci Burch, “Turnout and party registration among criminal offenders in the 2008 general election,” Law and Society Review 45 (3) (2011): 699–730, available at; Brennan Center for Justice, “Voting Rights Restoration Efforts in Florida,” February 12, 2018, available at
  9. Dara Kam, “Amendment 4: Felon voting rights decided on Florida ballot,” The Gainesville Sun, October 11, 2018, available at
  10. Brennan Center for Justice, “Voting Rights Restoration Efforts in Florida.”
  11. Christopher Uggen, Ryan Larson, and Sarah Shannon, “6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Disenfranchisement, 2016” (Washington: Sentencing Project, 2016), available at
  12. Sentencing Project, “State-by-State Data: State Data Map,” available at (last accessed November 2018).
  13. Ibid.
  14. Steve Bousquet, “Federal judge orders Rick Scott, Cabinet to create new voting rights restoration system for felons by April 26,” Tampa Bay Times, March 27, 2018, available at
  15. Samantha J. Gross, “Florida voters approve Amendment 4 on restoring felons’ voting rights,” Miami Herald, November 6, 2018, available at
  16. Gary Fineout and Brendan Farrington, “Federal judge: Florida is ‘laughing stock of the world,’” PBS NewsHour, November 15, 2018, available at
  17. The Center for Public Integrity, “America scrubs millions from the voter rolls. Is it fair?”, April 12, 2017, available at; J. Mijin Cha and Liz Kennedy, “Millions to the Polls” (New York: Demos, 2014), available at; Lizette Alvarez, “After Mistakenly Purging Citizens, Florida Agrees to Let Them Vote,” The New York Times, September 12, 2012, available at
  18. Liz Kennedy and others, “Bullies at the Ballot Box: Protecting the Freedom to Vote Against Wrongful Challenges and Intimidation” (New York: Demos, 2012), available at
  19. Marc Caputo, “How Rick Scott’s noncitizen voter purge started small and then blew up,” Miami Herald, June 12, 2012, available at
  20. Ibid.; Marc Caputo, “Florida’s voter purge sparks lawsuits between states and feds,” McClatchy DC Bureau, June 12, 2012, available at
  21. Judd Legum, “30 Elected Florida Republicans Stop Rick Scott’s Voter Purge,” ThinkProgress, June 8, 2012, available at; Josh Israel, “Elections Officials Throughout Florida Refuse To Use Rick Scott’s Inaccurate Lists To Purge Voters,” ThinkProgress, June 1, 2012, available at
  22. Letter from Diana Kasdan and Deidre Macnab to Ken Detzner, June 27, 2012, available at; Legum, “30 Elected Florida Republicans Stop Rick Scott’s Voter Purge.”
  23. Steve Bousquet, “Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s 2012 voter purge violated federal law, court rules,” Tampa Bay Times, April 1, 2014, available at
  24. Kira Lerner, “Georgia lawmaker claims cutting Sunday voting has nothing to do with race,” ThinkProgress, March 26, 2018, available at
  25. Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith, “Race, Party, and the Consequences of Restricting Early Voting in Florida in the 2012 General Election,” Political Research Quarterly 67 (3) (2014): 646–665.
  26. Steve Bousquet, “Judge: Florida’s early voting-on-campus ban shows ‘stark pattern of discrimination’,” Tampa Bay Times, July 24, 2018, available at
  27. Skyler Swisher and Larry Barszewski, “Protesters chant ‘lock her up’ outside Broward elections office as Florida’s midterm elections descend into chaos,” Sun Sentinel, November 9, 2018, available at
  28. Dan Merica and others, “Federal judge allows Florida voters more time to fix signature problems,” CNN, November 15, 2018, available at
  29. Glenn Thrush, Audra D.S. Burch, and Frances Robles, “In Florida Recount, Sloppy Signatures Placed Thousands of Ballots in Limbo,” The New York Times, November 14, 2018, available at
  30. Lila Carpenter, “Signature Match Laws Disproportionately Impact Voters Already on the Margins,” American Civil Liberties Union, November 2, 2018, available at
  31. Thrush, Burch, and Robles, “In Florida Recount, Sloppy Signatures Placed Thousands of Ballots in Limbo.”
  32. Cheyenne Haslett, “Judge sides with Nelson, rules Florida law on matching ballot signatures being applied unconstitutionally,” ABC News, November 15, 2018, available at; Democratic Executive Committee of Florida v. FL Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Case 4:18-cv-00520-MW-MJF (N.D. Fl) (November 15, 2018), available at
  33. Max Greenwood, “Scott appeals judge’s decision to give Florida voters extra time to fix ballot issues,” The Hill, November 15, 2018, available at
  34. Jeffrey Schweers, “Appeals Court upholds Judge Walker’s ‘cure’ for voters with mismatched signatures,” Tallahassee Democrat, November 15, 2018, available at
  35. Cheyenne Haslett and Jeffrey Cook, “Brian Kemp declares himself winner in Georgia governor’s race, stepping down as secretary of state. ABC News has not projected a winner.”, ABC News, November 8, 2018, available at
  36. Ibid.
  37. Mark Niesse, Maya T. Prabhu, and Jacquelyn Elias, “Voting precincts closed across Georgia since election oversight lifted,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 31, 2018, available at–regional-govt–politics/voting-precincts-closed-across-georgia-since-election-oversight-lifted/bBkHxptlim0Gp9pKu7dfrN/.
  38. John Whitesides, “Polling places become battleground in U.S. voting rights fight,” Reuters, September 16, 2016, available at
  39. The case was brought under the Voting Rights Act, in addition to the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Another case, brought by Common Cause Georgia and the Georgia NAACP, challenged the state’s practice of removing inactive voters in violation of the National Voter Registration Act. See Tony Pugh, “Georgia secretary of state fighting accusations of disenfranchising minority voters,” McClatchy DC Bureau, October 7, 2016, available at; Georgia State Conference of the NAACP et al., v. Kemp, Case No. ___ (N.D.G) (Sept. 14, 2016), available at
  40. Letter from Russell D. Willard to William C. O’Kelley, “Re: Georgia State Conf. of the NAACP, et al. v. Brian Kemp,” September 23, 2016, available at
  41. Pugh, “Georgia secretary of state fighting accusations of disenfranchising minority voters”; Kristina Torres, “Federal lawsuit alleges Georgia blocked thousands of minority voters,” Politically Georgia, September 14, 2016, available at–regional-govt–politics/federal-lawsuit-alleges-georgia-blocked-thousands-minority-voters/EKb979oRoBe4yJ3Uo1nDfP/.
  42. Charlotte West, “These students had to jump through hoops to vote – if they were able to vote at all,” Mic, November 14, 2018, available at
  43. Ibid.
  44. Jennifer Parks, “Stacey Abrams campaign preparing lawsuit over Dougherty County absentee ballots,” The Albany Herald, November 8, 2018, available at
  45. Julia Harte and Maria Caspani, “Voter advocates sue over delays at polling sites,” Reuters, November 6, 2018, available at
  46. Tia Mitchell, “Judge sides with Democrats, Dougherty must accept late-arriving absentee ballots,” Politically Georgia, November 9, 2018, available at; West, “These students had to jump through hoops to vote – if they were able to vote at all.”
  47. Richard Fausset, “How Voting Became a Central Issue in the Georgia Governor’s Race,” The New York Times, November 3, 2018, available at; Morgan Gstalter, “107,000 purged from Georgia voter rolls for not voting in past elections: report,” The Hill, October 19, 2018, available at
  48. Sean Keenan, “There are 53,000 pending voters in Georgia. They can still vote. Here’s what you need to know,” Atlanta Magazine, October 16, 2018, available at; P.R. Lockhart, “Georgia put 53,000 voter registrations on hold, fueling new charges of voter suppression,” Vox, October 12, 2018, available at
  49. Shannon Van Sant, “Judge Rules Against Georgia Election Law, Calling It A ‘Severe Burden’ For Voters,” NPR, November 3, 2018, available at
  50. Michael King and Nick Sturdivant, “Gwinnett Co. voters wait for hours after workers forget power cords for the voting machines,”, November 6, 2018, available at
  51. Amy Gardner, Beth Reinhard, and Aaron C. Davis, “Brian Kemp’s lead over Stacey Abrams narrows amid voting complaints in Georgia governor’s race,” The Washington Post, November 7, 2018, available at
  52. Curt Devine and Drew Griffin, “Georgia county tosses out hundreds of minority absentee ballots,” CNN, October 21, 2018, available at
  53. Amy Gardner, “Judge orders Ga. officials to stop tossing absentee ballots over signatures,” The Washington Post, October 24, 2018, available at
  54. Tia Mitchell, “Absentee ballots missing birth dates must be counted, judge orders,” Political Insider blog, November 14, 2018, available at
  55. Mark Niesse, “Georgia election board votes on counting absentee ballots in governor’s race,” Politically Georgia, November 11, 2018, available at–regional-govt–politics/georgia-election-board-votes-counting-absentee-ballots-governor-race/J6jf5RklTe4DhFXICFdtBI/; Aris Folley, “Federal judge finds Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act by rejecting ballots,” The Hill, November 13, 2018, available at
  56. Ibid.
  57. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., “Racist ‘magical Negro’ robo-call from ‘Oprah’ targets Stacey Abrams in Georgia governor’s race,” The Washington Post, November 5, 2018, available at
  58. Wired, “Alert: Track Midterm Election Day Misinformation Right Here,” November 6, 2018, available at
  59. Ibid.
  60. The New Black Panther Party – Atlanta Chapter, “7:37p.m., November 3, 2018,” Facebook, available at (last accessed November 2018).
  61. Richard Fausset and Alan Blinder, ”Brian Kemp’s Office, Without Citing Evidence, Investigates Georgia Democrats Over Alleged ‘Hack’,” The New York Times, November 4, 2018, available at
  62. P.R. Lockhart, “The last-minute hacking allegations in the Georgia governor race, explained,” Vox, November 5, 2018, available at
  63. Danielle Root and others, “Election Security in All 50 States” (Washington: Center for American Progress, 2018), available at
  64. Kemp initially refused to accept federal funds allocated by Congress to help bolster election infrastructure in states and protect them from possible manipulation in the 2018 elections. See Johnny Kauffman, “Georgia Says No Thanks To In-Depth Election Security Help From Feds,” WABE, February 14, 2018, available at
  65. Cat Zakrzewski, “The Cybersecurity 202: Democrats blast Georgia’s Brian Kemp for ‘a total disregard for election security’,” The Washington Post, October 31, 2018, available at
  66. Sean Sullivan and others, “Key contests in Florida and Georgia remain mired in uncertainty amid expanding legal fights over ballot counts,” The Washington Post, November 13, 2018, available at
  67. Alan Blinder, “Federal Judge Delays Certification of Georgia Election Results,” The New York Times, November 12, 2018, available at
  68. Bill Barrow and Kate Brumback, “Abrams ends Georgia governor bid, says she’ll file lawsuit,” Associated Press, November 16, 2018, available at
  69. Ibid.
  70. Amrit Cheng, “Kris Kobach, the ‘King of Voter Suppression,’ Will Lead Trump’s Sham Voter Fraud Commission. Be Afraid, Very Afraid.”, American Civil Liberties Union, May 12, 2017, available at
  71. Christopher Ingraham, “Federal judge upholds fine against Kris Kobach for ‘pattern’ of ‘misleading the Court’ in voter-ID cases,” The Washington Post, July 26, 2017, available at
  72. Ibid.
  73. Jonathan Shorman and Hunter Woodall, “Judge strikes down Kansas voter law, orders Kobach to take classes,” The Wichita Eagle, November 13, 2018, available at; Ari Berman, “The Man Behind Trump’s Voter-Fraud Obsession,” The New York Times, June 13, 2017, available at
  74. Associated Press, “The Latest: Kobach to Appeal Voting Rights Ruling,” U.S. News & World Report, June 18, 2018, available at
  75. John Hanna and Nick Viviani, “Colyer ‘not entirely’ OK on vote count, hires attorney for canvassing,” WIBW, August 10, 2018, available at
  76. Associated Press, “The Latest: Johnson County Won’t Count Some Disputed Ballots,” U.S. News & World Report, August 13, 2018, available at
  77. Avery Anapol, “Kobach refuses to recuse himself from recount effort,” The Hill, August 8, 2018, available at
  78. Bryan Lowry and others, “Trump fires Sessions as attorney general. Kobach mentioned as possible successor,” McClatchy DC Bureau, November 8, 2018, available at
  79. Brennan Center for Justice, “Citizens Without Proof: A Survey of Americans’ Possession of Documentary Proof of Citizenship and Photo Identification” (2006), available at; Robert Greenstein, Leighton Ku, and Stacy Dean, “Survey indicates House bill could deny rights to millions of U.S. citizens: Low-Income, African American, Elderly, and Rural Voters at Special Risk” (Washington: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2006), available at
  80. Kobach’s documentary proof of citizenship requirement was passed as part of the Secure and Fair Elections Act in 2011. See K.S.A. Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act (2011), available at–final.pdf. See State of Kansas, “Kansas Secure and Fair Elections Act (SAFE) signed by Governor,” Press release, April 18, 2011, available at; See The Associated Press, “Timeline of Kris Kobach’s drive to restrict voting in Kansas,” The Kansas City Star, July 20, 2016, available at; American Civil Liberties Union, “Fish v. Kobach,” available at (last accessed November 2018); expert report of Dr. Michael P. McDonald, Fish v. Kobach, No. No. 2:16-cv-02105 (Feb. 26, 2016), available at; Doug Bonney, “ACLU Testimony—SB 37,” Testimony before Kansas Senate Ethics, Elections, and Local Government Committee, February 7, 2017, available at
  81. Complaint of Plaintiff Fish v. Kobach, Case No. 2:16-cv-02105 (Feb. 18, 2016).
  82. Fish, et. al. v. Kobach, Case No. 16-3147 (10th Cir.) (Oct. 19, 2016); Spencer S. Hsu, “U. S. appeals court leaves proof-of-citizenship voting requirement to federal panel,” The Washington Post, September 26, 2016, available at
  83. Bill Chappell, “Judge Tosses Kansas’ Proof-Of-Citizenship Voter Law And Rebukes Sec. Of State Kobach,” NPR, June 19, 2018, available at
  84. Associated Press, “The Latest: Kobach to Appeal Voting Rights Ruling.”
  85. Julie Bosman, “Judge Rejects Kansas Law Requiring Voters to Show Proof of Citizenship,” The New York Times, June 18, 2018, available at
  86. U.S. Election Assistance Commission, “The Election Administration and Voting Survey: 2016 Comprehensive Report” (2017), available at
  87. Tal Axelford, “New voters in Kansas town sent notices with wrong polling site,” The Hill, October 25, 2018, available at
  88. Lynn Horsley, Robert A. Cronkleton, and Aaron Randle, “Here are some of the problems Kansas and Missouri voters faced on Election Day,” The Kansas City Star, November 6, 2018, available at; Elizabeth Janney, “Problems At Baltimore Polls On Election Day: Missing Page, Delays,” Baltimore Patch, November 6, 2018, available at; ibid.
  89. Peggy Lowe, “Kansans Caught In Crosscheck System Singled Out For Kobach’s Voter Fraud Campaign,” KCUR, February 7, 2017, available at
  90. As of May 5, 2016, the Interstate Crosscheck system included 30 member states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. See National Conference of State Legislatures, “Voter List Accuracy,” available at (last accessed November 2018); Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, “Concerns about Interstate Crosscheck,” available at (last accessed November 2018); Ben Strauss, “‘Kris Kobach came after me for an honest mistake’,” Politico Magazine, May 21, 2017, available at
  91. Greg Palast, “The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters,” Rolling Stone, August 24, 2016, available at
  92. Ibid.
  93. Nadeem Muadd, “The Bush-era Muslim registry failed. Yet the US could be trying it again,” CNN, December 22, 2016, available at; Michael Harriot, “The Troubling History of ‘the Most Racist Politician in America,’” The Root, May 16, 2017, available at; Arab American Institute, “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System,” available at (last accessed November 2018).
  94. Berman, “The Man Behind Trump’s Voter-Fraud Obsession”; Eyder Peralta, “Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Provisions Of Arizona Immigration Law,” NPR, June 25, 2012, available at
  95. Stephen Piggott, “White nationalist spotted at Kris Kobach for Governor fundraiser in Washington, D.C.”, Southern Poverty Law Center, November 9, 2017, available at; Jessica Huseman and others, “Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats,” ProPublica, August 1, 2018, available at; Immigration Reform Law Institute, “Meet Our Team,” available at (last accessed November 2018); Anti-Defamation League, “Ties Between Anti-Immigrant Movement and Eugenics,” February 22, 2013, available at
  96. Steve Bousquet, “Rick Scott has made enemies over voting rights during the last eight years,” The Tampa Bay Times, April 18, 2018, available at; Brennan Center for Justice, “Voting Rights Restoration in Florida,” November 7, 2018, available at; Lockhart, “Georgia put 53,000 voter registrations on hold, fueling new charges of voter suppression,” Vox, October 12, 2018, available at; Tomas Lopez and Jennifer L. Clark, “Uncovering Kris Kobach’s Anti-Voting History,” Brennan Center for Justice blog, May 11, 2017, available at

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Danielle Root

Former Director, Voting Rights and Access to Justice

Aadam Barclay