Kris W. Kobach is the current Secretary of State of Kansas and will be speaking at the RNLA National Election Seminar in Chicago. He was elected by a wide margin on a platform focused primarily on stopping voter fraud. With that goal in mind, he began his term by introducing the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act in the Kansas House of Representatives. The Act was adopted by both houses of the Kansas legislature on March 29, 2011 by wide margins with bipartisan support. Governor Brownback signed the SAFE Act on April 18, 2011.
Prior to his election as Secretary of State, Secretary Kobach was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Missouri – Kansas City from 1996 to 2011. Additionally, he is a nationally renowned litigator who represents US citizens, cities, and states in cases involving illegal immigration across the country. Secretary Kobach is a native of Topeka, Kansas. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with highest distinction from Harvard University in 1988, graduating at the top of his class in the Harvard Government Department. In 1988, the British government awarded him a Marshall Scholarship, which took him to England for post-graduate study. In 1992, he received his doctorate in Political Science from Oxford University. In 1995, he received his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School, where he served as notes development editor on the Yale Law Journal.
Secretary Kobach was admitted to the Kansas Bar in 1995 and served as a law clerk to Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in 1995 and 1996. By that time, he had already published two books: The Referendum: Direct Democracy in Switzerland (Dartmouth, 1993), and Political Capital: The Motives, Tactics, and Goals of Politicized Businesses in South Africa (University Press of America, 1990). He has also published numerous scholarly articles on elections, political science, constitutional law, and immigration law.
In 2001, Secretary Kobach was awarded a White House Fellowship, where he worked for the Bush Administration in the office of United States Attorney General John Ashcroft. Secretary Kobach served as the Attorney General's chief advisor on immigration law and border security. After his fellowship year ended, the Attorney General appointed Kobach as his Counsel. Following the September 11th attacks, Secretary Kobach was put in charge of Department of Justice efforts to prevent terrorists from exploiting gaps in U.S. immigration controls. He led the team that designed and implemented the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which registers and fingerprints high-risk visitors to the United States. Within its first year of operation, the registration system resulted in the apprehension of numerous suspected terrorists. Secretary Kobach also led Department of Justice reforms of the immigration court system, resulting in the reshaping of the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002.
The RNLA is excited to have Secretary Kobach speak at the National Election Law Seminar this year.