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.”
Along with Hammet, the members of the panel are Mark Johnson, a university law professor and a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Kansas; Steve Lopes, coordinator of the Johnson County Voting Coalition; and Jamie Shew, the Douglas County Clerk.
In addition to discussing voter suppression laws in Kansas, the panel will also suggest ways in which students can increase voter turnout among youth, said Sara Muench, president of the ACLU of KU.
“We’ve asked our panelists thus far, just start getting in your head, what are some ideas that students can do to be mobilized,” Muench said.