TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Democratic Party's new executive director is a lawyer who has worked on voting rights litigation.

The party announced in a news release Thursday that Ethan Corson, a former U.S. Department of Commerce official, will take the party's top job beginning August 1.

He previously worked on voter protection litigation for former President Barack Obama's second campaign in Wisconsin in 2012 and for the Kansas Democratic Party in 2014.

Party Chairman John Gibson says Corson's previous work is especially important at a time when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is working to tighten the state's and the country's voting laws. Kobach also is running for the GOP nomination for Kansas governor.