The Kansas Coalition for Citizen Participation (KCCP) will host its second annual Lobby Day, drawing an expected 100 Kansans from across the state in a mobilization aimed at protecting and expanding voting rights.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at the State Capital Auditorium in Topeka. The event is free and open to the public.
“Our goal is simple,” said Ellen Glover, field director for the ACLU of Kansas, one of the 25 organizations making up the coalition. “We want to cut the unnecessary red tape and fix the broken processes that keep thousands of Kansas citizens away from the ballot box and exclude them from the democratic process.”
The event will begin with a brief training session on citizen participation priorities and how best to address these priorities with legislators, followed by visits to select legislators.
The training session also will address the findings of the ACLU of Kansas policy report, “All Democracy is Local: The Impact of County Election Officials on Citizen Participation in Kansas Elections,” released last month.
The wide-ranging report surveyed county clerks and election officials in all 105 Kansas counties and found disparate voting policies which explain why our state resides near the bottom of many measures of American democracy.
Kansas ranks 40th nationally, for example, in its registration of eligible voters and 46th in voter representation, with racial minorities and young people seriously underrepresented.
“We believe our communities are strongest when all citizens have a stake and participate,” said Diosselyn Tot of El Centro, Inc.
Coalition members and Lobby Day participants will encourage legislators to enact reforms such as Election Day Registration and extending Early Voting periods. Each measure has significantly bolstered greater citizen participation in elections in other states.
KCCP hopes the event fuels greater civic engagement throughout the legislative session and throughout the year.
“Enacting meaningful voting rights reforms won’t be easy,” said Cille King, president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “But we can get it done by showing elected officials that voting rights remain a top priority and part of our mission to promote a fairer and healthier democracy in our state. The League of Women Voters believes that a strong democracy requires active participation by being well informed and exercising the right to vote.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION: or call Mark McCormick at: (913) 490-4113