Citizen participation is crucial to our democracy.
While the right to vote should be guaranteed to all eligible Americans, this fundamental constitutional right is constantly under attack. Since 2010, states have passed a string of new measures limiting the right to vote. These have included new identification and documentation requirements, cuts to early voting, and purges of voter rolls. Each of these attacks on voting rights disproportionately hurts people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
The attacks on voting rights have been enabled by a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v. Holder, where the justices struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act. The ruling prevented the federal government from providing meaningful oversight to state and local governments wanting to change their voting laws. Citing “progress” in the states, the Court opened the door for the creation of new restrictions on voting.
Kansas is the epicenter of this movement to undermine the right to vote, and many eligible Kansas voters face unnecessary hurdles or are unable to access the ballot box.
What are we doing about it?
The ACLU of Kansas has led the charge against the unnecessary, illegal, and undemocratic attack on the right to vote. We have brought multiple lawsuits against the Secretary of State. In one suit, we won a state court judgment that former Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s “dual voter roll,” which prevented some eligible voters from voting in state and local elections, was illegal and outside of his authority. Another suit, where we are challenging one of the state’s documentation requirements as illegal under federal law, is pending in federal court. Even as we wait for a verdict, the federal court judge issued an injunction stopping the state from enforcing the requirement during the 2016 elections. Read more about our voting rights cases.
The ACLU of Kansas is leading the way in pushing for the legislative repeal of restrictions on the right to vote. At the same time, we are organizing Kansans to push for greater access to the polls. Through our Let Kansas Vote! Campaign, we are working with allies to bring election day registration—a proven tool for boosting voter turnout and civic engagement—to Kansas. Read more about our Let Kansas Vote! campaign.