On September 21, 2023, the ACLU of Kansas filed an amicus brief in League of Women Voters of Kansas, Loud Light, Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, Charley Crabtree, Faye Huelsmann, and Patricia Lewter v. Scott Schwab and Kris Kobach before the Kansas Court of Appeals.
At issue are two laws passed by the Kansas legislature in 2021, K.S.A. 25-1124(h) imposing a signature match requirement and K.S.A. 26-2437(c) limiting a person from collecting and delivering more than ten advance voting ballots on behalf of others.
The brief argues that the right to vote is a fundamental right under Sections 1 and 2 of the Kansas Bill of Rights and therefore the Court should adopt a standard of strict scrutiny for its review of any government incursion on the fundamental right to vote. Under strict scrutiny, the government must show two things: 1) the interest served by the law is “compelling” or important enough that it justifies infringing on a fundamental right, and 2) any infringement on rights is done so in “the least restrictive” way possible. Strict scrutiny is crucial in serious cases where the government infringes on our core civil liberties and ensures protections of these rights by limiting the ability of government actors to infringe on them.
The State of Kansas cannot implement and justify the two laws at issue without directly undermining every Kansan's right to vote, on top of the numerous obstacles and restrictions that voters across the state already face.
The franchise of voting is a fundamental matter in a free and democratic society and undergirds every other right we consider fundamental, and it must be vehemently protected against restrictions that may undermine representative government. That sentiment is inexorably and unequivocally enshrined in our Kansas Constitution.