The Battle of Kansas Shows How Election “Reform” Supports One

Topeka, Kansas (AP) —Charlie Crabtree collected about 75 votes from at least 10 locations in its hometown of Lawrence last year as it sought to help nursing home voters deliver absentee ballots on time. It was. A Republican who controls the Kansas legislature wants to be sentenced to up to six months in prison for what he commits.

Republican lawmakers said they are protecting the integrity of state elections by reducing the chances of ballots being lost or altered. Democrats have described the Republican-controlled parliamentary move this month as an attack on voting efforts to support older, disabled and poor voters.

Invoice It can also help Republicans achieve important policy goals. It is to ease the abortion restrictions of the states endangered by the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision and protect the right to abortion. Republicans have participated in an attempt to amend the election law by anti-abortionists who fear that abortion campaigners will collect and defeat thousands of ballots. Proposed anti-abortion amendments Ballot in August 2022 to state constitution.

The Battle of Kansas shows how proposals claimed for electoral reform can help specific political parties or policy priorities. The Republican bill is directed at Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. Laura Kelly hasn’t said whether she will sign or refuse.

Crabtree said last year he was thinking about how people living in nursing homes could vote for a coronavirus pandemic. He proposed the idea of ​​delivering ballots to a branch of the local League of Women Voters. The ballot was sealed in an envelope, so “you need to tear the envelope completely to get it in the envelope.”

“And we provided it to everyone and those in need, we were happy to give it to them,” he said.

The state of Georgia has gone to zero in an election law dispute, but said former president Donald Trump, including Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Montana, had won.Last month Iowa Republican-supported law enacted This can make early voting difficult and can put the Democratic Party at a disadvantage.

This issue is also in front of the US Supreme Court, which is considering constitutionality. Arizona Law Enacted by the Republican Party in 2016, it limits who can return ballots.

According to the National Assembly of Parliament, more than half of the states, including Kansas, allow non-relative third parties to collect ballots and deliver them to election offices, but the number is limited.

The Kansas bill limits most individuals to casting 10 votes in each election and allows candidates to deliver ballots only from their immediate family.

Blake Carpenter, a Republican in the Wichita region who supported the draft, said: The final version of the bill.

The state’s most influential anti-abortion group, Kansans for Life, and Kansas’ conservative family policy alliance also supported the bill. Brittany Jones, the alliance’s advocate, said the group was always concerned about the integrity of the election.

“We are concerned that planned parent-child relationships and the abortion industry could take state citizens out and harvest hundreds, if not thousands, of ballots,” Kansas Four said. -Life lobbyist Jeanne Gaudun said. “There are several ways people can use it.”

Julie Burkhart, CEO of the TrustWomen Abortion Group, has offered to provide ballots to voters and said he is seeing “a clear attempt to suppress voters.”

“If an important part of your strategy is to reduce the number of people you can vote for, you could be on the other side of the question,” added Rachel Sweet, a lobbyist at Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

Republicans argue that the more ballots someone can provide, the more likely it is that some ballots will be lost, or that they will be intentionally altered or misplaced. .. They pointed to an example of a Kansas Democratic candidate collecting ballots, but have not yet provided evidence that it led to fraudulent voting.But some quotes North Carolina scandal This overturned the 2018 parliamentary elections, which were accused of having Republican operatives collect incomplete or blank absentee votes for workers.Some people point out the controversy In Democratic-led California, Republicans faced allegations of installing illegal ballot dropboxes.

Democrats counter the case of voters waiting for a vote until there is no reliable mode of transportation or the mail may not deliver the absentee ballot on time. Democrat Vic Miller of Topeka said he sent a letter to voters the weekend before the election, calling for ballots and offering to pick them up for delivery.

Rayvun Keller said that if Miller didn’t help get the absentee ballot and didn’t return it, he might not have voted last fall. She gave birth last summer and wasn’t used to voting by mail when she appeared at her door in Topika in the fall.

“I’m two single mothers. During a pandemic, it’s very difficult and scary to find someone to see your child so you can wait in line to go to vote,” she says. I did. “He just made everything so simple and easy for someone like me.”


Also contributed by Adam Beam and Donald Thompson of Sacramento, California. Bobby Kaina Calvin and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida. Jonathan Cooper of Phoenix; Amy Beth Hanson of Helena, Montana. David Pitt of Des Moines, Iowa and Gary D. Robertson of Raleigh, North Carolina.


Andy Tsubasa Field is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America Is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.


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