The Kansas Legislature is about to consider a radical change in voting. It’s called “ranked-choice voting,” and if it passes, you’ll be asked not just to vote for one candidate when you fill out your ballot, but to rank candidates by your order of preference. And those second and third choices could end up getting counted and even deciding close elections. “This year, you could see major changes (in voting), maybe the biggest in 100 years in this state since women got the right to vote,” said Russell Fox, a professor of political science at Friends University. House and Senate lawmakers will hold a special hearing on ranked-choice voting on Oct. 27. If they like what they hear, they could fast-track a bill for the session, which begins in January.
Articles about voting issues in Kansas.
Kansas has once again taken center stage in the fight over voting rights in America. The American Civil Liberties Union on Sunday night made a point of calling out Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has championed stricter requirements for voters and alleged widespread election fraud that he’s been unable to prove. The criticism of Kobach came as the ACLU kicked off a 50-state “Let People Vote” campaign at the Lied Center in Lawrence, roughly a half hour from Kobach’s office in Topeka. “This is going to be difficult, this is complex,” said Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s national political director. “Because given the dysfunction in Congress, we are not going to pass anything through there to expand voting rights. It would be ideal if we could. But it’s not going to happen. “So the only way that we can fight to expand voting rights in America is to go state by state by state.”
Kansas: Voting experts to discuss voter suppression in Kansas, the ‘capital of voter suppression’ | The Daily Kansan
More than 20,000 Kansas citizens were prevented from participating in the 2016 election because of voter suppression, said Davis Hammet, the 27-year-old founder of Loud Light, an organization that focuses on increasing youth civic participation in Kansas. Hammet, along with three other Kansas voter experts, will address the topic of voter suppression in a panel discussion sponsored by the ACLU of KU. The panel discussion will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the Centennial Room of the Kansas Union. “It’s so bad, voter suppression,” Hammet said. “Kansas is the voter suppression capital of the country, and it calls into [question] the legitimacy of every elected official. So that’s why these issues are critical. It’s really about do we have a democracy or not in Kansas.”
Kansas: Kobach criticizes New Hampshire election law, but Kansas officials say our law is much the same | Lawrence Journal World
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has used national media to allege that New Hampshire’s voting law left that state susceptible to voter fraud. Now, Kansas election officials are quietly acknowledging the same issue that riled Kobach in New Hampshire also exists in Kansas. What caught Kobach’s eye in New Hampshire is that New Hampshire voters were using out-of-state driver’s licenses to prove their identity at New Hampshire polling places, and that many of those voters still hadn’t applied to receive a New Hampshire driver’s license more than 10 months after the election. Kobach said in a column published on the conservative website Breitbart that the driver’s license issue was evidence of nonresidents of the state committing voter fraud. However, Kansas election officials told the Journal-World that same scenario is legal under Kansas law.
Kansas: Judges question challenge to voting machines, but case could change state law | The Wichita Eagle
Appeals judges strongly questioned Tuesday whether there’s a legitimate legal question for them to decide in Wichita statistician Beth Clarkson’s quest to use audit tapes to test the accuracy of voting machines. But the case could lead to an effort to change state law to make it easier for citizens to do accuracy tests on election equipment. Clarkson, a statistician at Wichita State University, is asking the judges to order a recount of votes on ballot questions in the 2014 election, using the paper tapes generated by voting machines as voters cast their ballots. At a Court of Appeals hearing Tuesday in Wichita, the lead judge on the three-judge panel repeatedly pressed Clarkson’s lawyer, former U.S. Attorney Randy Rathbun, about whether a recount would have any effect, since the election was settled years ago.
Flush with cash and a newfound demand for activism, the American Civil Liberties Union next month will launch a new effort to expand voting rights in all 50 states that top officials hope will finally let liberals play offense on an issue that has long bedeviled them. Rollout will start on Oct. 1 in Lawrence, Kansas — and that location is no accident. It’s the home state of Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state and a prominent Republican advocate of restricting voter access. He is co-chair of President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate so-far unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. The ACLU campaign, called Let People Vote, will forgo a federal approach to expanding voting rights; indeed it ignores Congress altogether. Instead, it will pressure each state to adopt individually tailored plans, including proposals such as creating independent redistricting commissions and restoring voting access for convicted felons.
Kansas: Appeals court to grapple with Beth Clarkson voting-machine case in Wichita | The Wichita Eagle
Is voting rigged in Sedgwick County? Is there any way to prove it is or isn’t? Those are the fundamental questions underlying a Kansas Court of Appeals case to be argued Tuesday morning in a special court session at Friends University in Wichita. The appeals court is being asked to allow a recount of votes on audit tapes from voting machines to test the accuracy of the tallies reported by Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman. Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson has tried for seven years to gain access to the tapes. Her request was denied by Lehman and the denial was upheld in district court. Lehman and Sedgwick County say that there is no problem with the votes and releasing the tapes would risk compromising the secrecy of people’s ballots. Tuesday’s appeal arguments will feature two prominent Wichita attorneys.
Voting-rights advocates are floating a proposal that could make it easier to vote, but the state’s top election official is dead-set against it, raising the possibility of voter fraud. The idea is election-day registration, a system used by 16 states and the District of Columbia, where voters can register or update their voting information at the polling place on election day. “All the states that have election-day registration are at the top of voter turnout,” voting-rights expert Kevin Kennedy said in the keynote speech at “Democracy Tomorrow,” a daylong voting-rights seminar held Friday at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex. About 10 to 15 percent of voters take advantage of the same-day option in the states that have it, Kennedy said. It especially attracts late deciders, who may not think about voting until the election is upon them, he said. While some election officials consider those voters to be lazy, “I’m thinking they’re busy,” he said.
Kansas: In Response To Justice Department, Kobach Cites Voter Database As Key Kansas Resource | HPPR
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is touting a controversial multistate voter database as a key resource in response to U.S. Department of Justice questions about Kansas’ compliance with federal voting law. In a recent letter to the Justice Department, obtained by the Kansas News Service through an open records request, Kobach describes the database as “one of the most important systems” Kansas uses to check the accuracy of voter rolls. … Critics, however, question the program’s value, saying poor data quality means there is far greater potential for mistakenly assuming people with the same name and birthdate to be the same person.
The Sedgwick County Commission is seeking state approval to do voting machine audits regularly. The commission is working to get legislation passed in 2018 that will allow audits of election results. Currently, the state of Kansas does not allow a review of ballots, except as it relates to specific election challenges. Lawmakers failed to pass a bill on election audits last year. Commissioner Jim Howell says there is broad support for the legislation for the upcoming 2018 session. He says Sedgwick County’s new voting machines are designed for audits. “We would like to do random sample auditing across our county, and that would add a lot of transparency and a lot of confidence in our election process, and right now we don’t have that,” Howell says.