FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 31, 2019
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK, KS - A district court judge ordered Johnson County Elections Commissioner Ronnie Metsker Thursday to honor a formal request for lists of voters who cast provisional ballots in August’s primary and for voters whose advance mail ballots were rejected because their signature did not match their voter record.
Davis Hammet, president of Loud Light, a Topeka-based, civic engagement nonprofit focusing on expanding democracy and increasing voter turnout, filed his petition last summer with help from the ACLU of Kansas.
“They wrongfully denied me access to an open record,” Hammet said in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon. “The elections commissioner must immediately grant me the list of Johnson County citizens that had their votes thrown out. Lauren (Bonds, the ACLU of Kansas’ interim executive director), and Zal (Shroff, the staff attorney who argued the case) … did an excellent job representing me! I’m so grateful to be a part of this big moment that opens the door to inform people that the state is disenfranchising them.”
Hammet intends to inform voters on the lists that their votes did not count and to help reconcile their voting record signatures.
Bonds said the court victory was an important one since hundreds of ballots were not counted during last year’s primary election in which the gubernatorial primary race was decided by 343 votes out of more than 317,000 that were cast.
"The district court's ruling is a win for democracy and transparency,” Bonds said. “Voting rights advocates now have the information they need to ensure election integrity and help provisional voters make sure their ballots count.”
Metsker’s denial of the records also conflicted with the Sec. of State’s own practices – that office discloses an individual voter’s history online, including whether a voter cast a provisional ballot.
“People should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting,” Bonds said.
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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.