Let’s protect voting for all Kansans

The right to vote must not be politicized. Kansans should demand an equal right to vote for all.

By

Opinion

July 28, 2021 - 7:46 AM

Senate President Ty Masterson will lead efforts to draw new district lines for the U.S. House, legislative seats and school boards. (SHERMAN SMITH/KANSAS REFLECTOR)

Nov. 3, 2020, saw the highest turnout of voters in U.S. history. Now, at least 18 state legislatures have passed laws to reduce voter turnout and restrict U.S. citizens’ access to their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote, especially targeting people of color. Kansas is among them.

The Kansas Legislature passed a law making it a crime to engage in activity that “gives the appearance of being an election official.” The law is so vaguely worded that organizations doing voter registration, foremost among them the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, have suspended registering and educating voters. They fear their well-informed members who register voters may be charged with impersonating election officials, a felony. This law has halted 100 years of LWV voter registration of new citizens and voters of all political parties.

The Kansas Legislature also has decided to rush the process of drawing new voting districts. The Kansas Constitution’ deadline for drawing new boundary lines is the end of the legislative session — May 2022. The Republican majority is considering setting boundaries that would dilute Black and Latino voting strength by assigning their communities to Republican-majority areas.

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