FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2018
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK, KS - After Secretary of State office delays of nearly 300 days and following multiple attempts to avoid litigation, the ACLU of Kansas filed suit today against Sec. of State Scott Schwab.
The lawsuit, filed in Shawnee County District Court on behalf of the Topeka-based, voter advocacy nonprofit Loud Light and its founder/Executive Director Davis Hammet, seeks the release of voter roll and provisional ballot information. In the past, courts have ruled that this information can be shared with the public.
“On September 4, 2019, Plaintiffs submitted a request to Defendant Schwab for the ELVIS Provisional Ballot Detail Report from the 2018 General Election,” the lawsuit reads. “Two hundred ninety-three (294) days later – and only in anticipation of this litigation -- Plaintiffs finally received a formal denial of their records request. But Defendant Schwab’s claims that the requested records are prohibited from release by law are without merit.”
“We went to great lengths to avoid this filing,” said ACLU of Kansas Legal Director Lauren Bond, who said she’d sent a resolution letter to the Secretary of State’s office and had multiple phone calls with that team about the issue. “We also chose not to seek the recovery of legal fees in this case. Our only focus is our client’s right to the documents they have requested.”
Loud Light specifically had requested the names of provisional ballot voters and whether their ballots ultimately were counted.
The ACLU of Kansas and Mr. Hammet won a similar case in January of 2019 when a District Court judge ordered then-Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker to honor a formal request for lists of voters who had cast provisional ballots in the 2018 primary.
Bonds said then that the decision was a victory for democracy and transparency.
She had also thought that considering the previous decision, the ACLU of Kansas would not have had to file this most recent suit.
A June 18 letter from the ACLU of Kansas to the Secretary of State’s office read in part, “It is our strong desire to resolve this matter without litigation and we will make every effort to work collaboratively with your office to avoid further legal action.”
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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.