A sign directs voters to the polls in Phoenix for primary elections there on Aug. 28. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
Opinion writer

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported last Wednesday:

Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory L. Rupe ruled that independent Shaun Brown should be removed from the 2nd Congressional District ballot. Campaign staffers for [Republican Rep. Scott] Taylor helped gather signatures required to get Brown on the ballot. Investigations by news media and the Democratic Party showed forged signatures, including from voters who had died or no longer lived in the congressional district. . . .

“I’m buying almost all of what you all are selling,” the judge told the Democratic Party lawyers when he ruled. He said he found evidence of forgery, uttering, perjury and “out-and-out fraud.”

Republicans staffers, in other words, got involved in the worst kind of voting fraud, propping up a fraudulent candidate to help their guy win. Voter-ID laws won’t solve that, but Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell, who is conducting a criminal investigation, might root our the culprits.

Meanwhile, the man who has made his career off voting-fraud hysteria is himself now under investigation. You’ll remember Republican gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach was already found to be in contempt of court for his actions in a voting case. Matt Welch recalls:

No amount of courtroom humiliation and professional failure seems to dim Kobach’s allure in a Republican Party that for the past decade has taken a sharply nativist direction on immigration. ProPublica and the Kansas City Star . . .  documented how Kobach has built a lucrative legal practice talking cities into passing ordinances that punish landlords and employers who do business with undocumented immigrants, only to then lose in court when the laws are inevitably challenged.

So hamfisted has Kobach’s lawyering been that Judge Robinson mandated the secretary of state take six hours of remedial legal classes after repeatedly bungling his own voter-registration case.

Things went from bad to horrible for Kobach this month when the Kansas Supreme Court said a grand jury must weigh whether Kobach, the state’s current secretary of state, deliberately failed to register voters in 2016.  The case was initially brought by Kansas voter Steven Davis, who says Kobach intentionally refused to process online voting applications, therefore depriving voters of their right to cast a ballot. Kobach is entitled to the presumption of innocence. (Unlike his fake voting “integrity” commission, America’s judicial system requires actual facts to assign liability.)

In short, it has been a banner couple of weeks for state judges attacking the scourge of GOP voting fraud. In our current environment, when unsubstantiated allegations of voting fraud get tossed around to justify restricting access to voting, it is heartening to see judges take their professional obligations seriously.

For protecting our system of free and fair elections and identifying the only significant voting chicanery of late, we say to the jurists in Virginia and Kansas, well done.