It’s a simple, yet powerful message: “Let People Vote.”
But Kris Kobach — our part-time secretary of state who’s devoted inordinate energy to voter-unfriendly initiatives — has done otherwise.
With that in mind, it was no coincidence to see the American Civil Liberties Union select Kansas as the place to launch a nationwide campaign called “Let People Vote,” an effort designed to mobilize support for the fundamental right to vote.
Kansas, unfortunately, has become the epicenter of voter suppression because of Kobach,
His full-time attack on voter rights included pushing for damaging policies as a supposed way to counter voter fraud that doesn’t exist.
Those changes — and particularly the onerous proof-of-citizenship requirement to register to vote — only disenfranchised certain would-be voters.
It’s important to note the moves were designed to give Kobach and fellow ultraconservatives an edge in elections. The policies target individuals who typically wouldn’t support a far-right agenda: the young, minorities, the poor, disabled and elderly, all who may have difficulty obtaining required documents.
As a result, tens of thousands of voters were held at bay in recent Kansas elections. Kobach also stood by as nearly 14,000 ballots were tossed in the last election.
His acts understandably have drawn legal challenges from the ACLU, which works to defend individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and laws of the nation.
Kobach has repeatedly lost in court, yet remains undeterred. He’s now part of the badly named federal Election Integrity Commission, a wasteful attempt to prove President Trump’s outlandish suggestion that millions of Americans voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.
To Kobach, it’s all a way to build support from the far right for his gubernatorial bid.
And how troubling to know someone who’s been instrumental in voter suppression efforts also is in charge of elections in this state.
Too few people vote as it is here and beyond. The deliberate, ongoing crusade to deter prospective voters should compel more people to do their best to engage in our democracy.
The effort from the ACLU to counter the blatant assault on the precious right to vote warrants attention and support not only in Kansas, but also nationwide.