TOPEKA—Today, the League of Women Voters of Kansas, Loud Light, Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, and the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center filed a motion for temporary injunction, asking the Court to bar the state from enforcing its newly enacted “Voter Education Restriction.” The new law makes it a crime to engage in conduct that “gives the appearance of being an election official” or “that would cause another person to believe a person engaging in such conduct is an election official,” effectively chilling the ability of organizations like the plaintiffs to provide voters with information and assistance in casting their ballots.
“The League serves thousands of voters year-round with the information and assistance they need to cast their ballot with confidence,” said Jacqueline Lightcap, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “Voters depend on our services, and those of organizations like ours, to help them exercise their most sacred right. This law makes it a crime for the League to do our most basic, most important service.”
The organizations previously filed a lawsuit, League of Women Voters of Kansas v. Schwab, challenging a number of anti-voter laws enacted this cycle. Today’s filing asks the Court to keep the Voter Education Restriction from going into effect until the Court grants final judgment in the case. Kansas has an upcoming primary election on August 3, for which the registration deadline is July 13.
“The civil rights of disabled Kansans rely on the availability of accommodations so we can equally participate in all aspects of community life, including voting. Accommodations often include the help of advocates, friends, family, and volunteers our agency organizes to ensure that every eligible voter can receive information and assistance in exercising their right to vote. This law would come into play exactly as we are helping people prepare for primary season voting, leaving the people who offer these supports in fear of violating the new law,” said Ami Hyten, executive director at the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center.
“This new law threatens any Kansan helping to register voters with a felony,” said Davis Hammet, President of Loud Light. “It’s already a crime to impersonate an election official. This law makes it a crime if anyone even mistakes you for an election official regardless of your intention. It’s too vague, too broad, and will have a devastating impact on democracy in Kansas if it’s not blocked.”
"Our goal has always been to engage Kansans in the election process as we believe that more Kansans vote, the better our democracy," said Jami Reever, Kansas Appleseed executive director. "If this provision of the law is allowed to take effect, it will cause great uncertainty and concern for the staff and volunteers in the voter engagement work of advocates throughout the state."
The plaintiffs are represented by Irigonergaray, Turney, and Revenaugh LLP and Perkins Coie LLP.
View a copy of the filing here.
PRESS CONTACT: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]
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