“Your voice matters, too” - upcoming events will remind Kansans with past felonies that they can vote

Friday, February 23, 2024

CONTACT: Esmie Tseng, Communications Director, ACLU of Kansas, [email protected]

KANSAS CITY AND WICHITA, KAN. - Two upcoming events held by the ACLU of Kansas and multiple partner organizations seek to inform Kansans with felony records that they are eligible to vote after they have served their sentence – and should.

The events will include "Know Your Voting Rights" trainings for Kansans with felony convictions and provide resources from community leaders events. Both are part of an ongoing campaign by the ACLU of Kansas to ensure that all eligible Kansans are empowered to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

“There is so much misinformation out there for all Kansans trying to vote, and those who have been impacted by the criminal legal system are even more vulnerable to the disenfranchisement of not fully understanding their voting rights,” said Evan Altman, Field Organizer for the ACLU of Kansas. “We don’t exercise the rights we don’t know about. So we want to make sure that every returning citizen gets the message loud and clear: your voice matters, too.”

In Kansas, when people are convicted of a felony and serving their sentence, they lose the ability to vote—this is called felony disenfranchisement. Once someone has completed their sentence (including any term of supervised release), their voting rights are restored – but because partial or full disenfranchisement laws vary widely by state, there remains a misunderstanding that Kansas has a partial, not complete, framework of felony disenfranchisement.

“This isn’t just about allowing people to participate in the democratic process, but actively inviting them, bringing them back in, and valuing their input,” said Leslie Butsch, Field Director for the ACLU of Kansas. “Those of us who understand firsthand the chain of events that can lead to crime also know how it is heavily influenced by lack of economic opportunity, access to mental health services or substance use treatment, or the cycle of violence and trauma. Our democratic process needs to be informed by the real-life experiences of ordinary Kansans.”

Kansas’s partial felony disenfranchisement does more than legally prevent Kansans from voting during their sentence – even after they become eligible again, it still creates confusion, obstacles to vote even, and discourages them from persisting. Some community members have reported that when registering to vote with their local election offices after becoming eligible, they were initially denied based on outdated court records.

Event information:

Restore My Vote - Wyandotte County
Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 1:30 p.m.
South Branch Library
3104 Strong Ave; Conference Room A
Kansas City, KS 66106

Restore My Vote - Sedgwick County
Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.
Wichita United Church of Christ
5200 E 31st St S
Wichita, KS 67210


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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.