Coalition pushes back over voting laws

The League of Women Voters of Kansas and three other organizations Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging constitutionality of election reforms described by plaintiffs as a brazen attempt to suppress participation by minority, disabled and elderly voters.

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June 2, 2021 - 7:44 AM

Four Kansas organizations filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging constitutionality of two sweeping election reform bills placed into law by the 2021 Legislature after deflecting vetoes by Gov. Laura Kelly. Here, voters cast ballots at United Methodist Church in Topeka. (NOAH TABORDA/KANSAS REFLECTOR)

TOPEKA — The League of Women Voters of Kansas and three other organizations Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging constitutionality of election reforms described by plaintiffs as a brazen attempt to suppress participation by minority, disabled and elderly voters.

The 2021 Legislature managed to override vetoes of two election bills denounced by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, setting up a showdown between the state as defendant and plaintiffs Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Loud Light, Topeka Independent Living Resource Center and League of Women Voters. Court documents allege provisions of House Bill 2183 and House Bill 2332 violated the Kansas Constitution by interfering with Kansans’ rights to exercise rights of voting, due process, free speech and association.

Jacqueline Lightcap, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, said it made no sense for the Republican-controlled Legislature to punish voters for generating record turnout in the November 2020 election. In all, 1.3 million Kansans voted with 450,000 making use of the mail-in option of advance voting and 370,000 turning in advance ballots in person.

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