Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander told a crowd of people at a progressive event in Parkville Saturday that they can’t just rely on the courts to protect voting rights under President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Kander, a Democrat, said that with Trump appointing judges and Sessions running the U.S. Department of Justice, voting rights cases will become tougher to win. Legal challenges have to be paired with political activism. “I believe there should be political consequences for politicians who commit voter suppression,” Kander said. “I believe that if you make it harder to vote, then we should make it harder for you to get reelected.” Kander, who started a political action committee this year called Let America Vote, spoke at a “voting rights festival” hosted at English Landing Park by Northland Progress. The festival is part of the group’s “In for 10” campaign, in which volunteers pledge to help at least 10 Missouri citizens register to vote.
The event featured volunteer sign-ups, food trucks and speeches by Democratic politicians interspersed with sets by local musicians.
Northland Progress founder and president Blake Green said it was a non-partisan event and he invited Republican politicians as well, but none accepted. He declined to name the Republican invitees. A few hundred people gathered to watch Kander’s speech, which kicked off the event.
Kander levied criticism at Trump and Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama. Kander said that under Sessions’ leadership the federal agency tasked with protecting civil rights had changed dramatically.