FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2018
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, director of strategic communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK -- The ACLU of Kansas has petitioned the district court for lists of Johnson County voters who cast provisional ballots in August’s primary and for lists of voters whose advance mail ballots election officials rejected because their signature did not match their voter record.
The ACLU filed the case Monday on behalf of Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, a civic engagement nonprofit focusing on expanding democracy and increasing voter turnout, and named Ronnie Metsker, Johnson County Elections Commissioner, as defendant.
“We aren’t asking to see who they voted for or any private information,” said Lauren Bonds, the ACLU of Kansas’ legal director. “That information should be afforded the utmost privacy. However, people should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting. The public interest here is just transparency.”
The lawsuit argues that the closure of the lists would be in conflict with the National Voter Registration Act requiring states to maintain and make available for public inspection the names of registered voters and whether they voted in the two most recent federal presidential elections.
“People should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting. The public interest here is just transparency.” --Lauren Bonds, legal director of the ACLU of Kansas
Metsker’s denial of the records also seems to contradict the Sec. of State’s own practices – that office discloses an individual voter’s history online, including whether a voter cast a provisional ballot.
The lawsuit also cites multiple statutes stating that this information should be accessible for review.
Statue 45-216(a), for example, states, “it is declared to be the public policy of the state that public records shall be open for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this act, and this act shall be liberally construed and applied to promote such policy.”
Another, 45-218 (a) states, “All public records shall be open for inspection by any person, except as otherwise provided by this act.”
And finally, “…the legislative history of SB 336 demonstrates that the legislature intended to remove restrictions to accessing voter lists by amending K.S.A. 25-2422, not create additional barriers.”
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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.