OVERLAND PARK, KS - The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Kansans United for Civil Liberties, the political action committee started by the ACLU of Kansas earlier this year, released the following statement on the results of the 2022 midterm elections.
“We congratulate Gov. Laura Kelly on winning another term in office. In her first term, Gov. Kelly was frequently a champion of civil liberties. There is much more to do, though, especially in reforming our criminal legal system, defending democracy, and protecting reproductive freedom,” said Micah Kubic, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas. “We congratulate all of the winners of the 2022 elections and look forward to working with them to protect the values we share.”
“In this election, Kansans made their expectations clear: the governor of Kansas, every state lawmaker, and the secretary of state should use the considerable power and influence of their offices to advance civil liberties. This election reinforced that Kansans remain committed to protecting our rights and are not interested in power grabs and fearmongering. Voters expect their elected officials to focus on the substance of their job descriptions.”
Kansas voters strongly supported a civil liberties agenda this midterm election. This was especially true in the state legislative districts prioritized by Kansans United for Civil Liberties (KUCL) for voter education. KUCL invested over $250,000 in non-partisan, non-endorsing voter education in four Johnson County state legislative districts, ensuring that voters were informed about the positions of candidates on issues related to reproductive freedom and voting rights. In three of those four state legislative races (HD 14, 15, and 49), candidates that took public positions supporting reproductive freedom and voting rights were victorious and party control of the seats shifted. On the heels of the historic August primary, Kansans continue to show that they will not tolerate politicians or political agendas that force pregnancy on people or intrude on families’ deeply personal medical decisions.
“Election night is far from a conclusion, but rather, a beginning – and the ACLU of Kansas looks forward to beginning this new chapter of working with elected officials on strengthening our democracy and improving the implementation of our criminal legal system to make Kansas a more just, fair, safe, and equitable place for everyone,” Kubic said.
“Voters now expect the governor and lawmakers to get to work. It’s time to shift from the focus of the election cycle and attend to the pressing business of the state. We look forward to working with these elected officials to tackle big issues like eliminating a fines and fees system that criminalizes poverty, especially for youth, and reforming our broken bail system.”
In addition to reelecting Gov. Kelly, Kansas voters narrowly elected Kris Kobach, the former secretary of state, to the attorney general’s office. During the course of the 2022 race, attorney general-elect Kris Kobach campaigned on a platform that included an array of priorities deeply concerning to Kansans who care about civil rights and civil liberties.
“We congratulate Mr. Kobach on his victory,” said Kubic. “We encourage him not to pursue the unconstitutional and unjust policies he talked about on the campaign trail. If he does change course, the ACLU and all those who care about civil rights will eagerly partner with him. But should Mr. Kobach decide to follow through on his campaign promises of attacking civil liberties, denigrating democracy, and undermining the rule of law, we will relentlessly, persistently, and unflinchingly challenge those policies. And, as Mr. Kobach well knows from his long history of defeats dealt by the ACLU of Kansas, when we have challenged his policies on behalf of the Constitution, the Constitution has won – and will win – every time.”
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.