Taking action for racial and economic equity.

KanVote Call to Action: Kansas Legislature

ROLE IN THE PROBLEM: The Kansas Legislature passed the voter ID and voter registration restrictions put forth by Secretary of State Kris Kobach during the legislative session. Their willingness to pass these provisions has ultimately brought about the mass suspension of voter rights that we are facing today. After issues arose in the implementation of the voter ID provisions, some legislators introduced legislation during session that would have prevented the current complications that have resulted from the voter registration restriction. These preventative measures were largely ignored by legislative leadership, who opted to refuse them a hearing.

ROLE IN THE SOLUTION: The Kansas Legislature should take legislative action to repeal or modify the voter restrictions in a way that both restores the right to vote for the thousands of Kansans in suspended status, as well as halts any future impediments for eligible voters.

THEIR RESPONSE TO THE VOTER CRISIS: When the legislature convened for the special session, KanVote called on lawmakers to assess the impact of the voter suspension crisis by attending a briefing lead by voters and grassroots leaders. The briefing urged legislators to take the opportunity presented by the special session to discuss a solution that would restore voting rights to thousands of Kansans. We were pleased at the bipartisan presence at our briefing, and the sincere regard for voter rights spoken by lawmakers of both parties.

While some of the legislators differed on what they felt would be the most appropriate solution, each of them acknowledged the urgent need for change. Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita and Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau introduced bills that would have enabled voters to sign an affidavit when they register saying they are citizens, a practice allowed nationally. While this would have mitigated recent widespread voter suspensions, the bills were blocked by leadership in the legislature.

Speakers’s briefing included:

- Rev. Carieta Grizzell - Social Director for the AME Midwest Conference Church

- Rev. Ben Scott and Rev. Louis Jenkins - Kansas NAACP

- Marge Ahrens - Kansas League of Women Voters

- Veronica Miranda - Sunflower Community Action- Louis Goseland - KanVote

- Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau - (D) Wichita

- Rep. Barbara Bollier - (R) Mission Hills

- Rep. Jim Ward - (D) Wichita

- Rep. Tom Moxley - (R) Council Grove

- Rep. Ponka-We Victors - (D) Wichita

- Rep. Gail Finney - (D) Wichita