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. In the past decade, numerous states, often led by Kansas, have attempted or successfully passed legislation limiting the right to vote. These efforts 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 more recent wave of 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 at 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. We saw this most recently in the 2021 legislative session, when Kansas lawmakers pushed through two bills, one that aimed to significantly hamper mail ballot access and another that aimed to undermine the lawful power of the executive and judicial branches to alter election laws.
What are we doing about it?
The ACLU of Kansas is committed to defending and expanding the right to vote in our state. We continue to find ways to work with allies to boost voter turnout and civic engagement in Kansas.
- The ACLU of Kansas is a founding member of the KS Fair Maps coalition--a group of civically-minded organizations that are committed to a fair redistricting process. In addition to creating resources and providing education, the KS Fair Maps team organizes turnout efforts and testimony-writing for Redistricting Committee hearings and town halls across the state.
- The ACLU of Kansas Election Hub is updated every election cycle to reflect the latest changes to election law and provide accessible resources to voters.
- In 2022, our community engagement team will work with partners and community members to recruit, train, and activate Election Protection volunteers. These volunteers will serve as poll watchers and resources for community members to ensure all Kansans have the information they need to have their vote counted.