Today (Feb. 29, 2016), Secretary of State Kris Kobach endorsed Donald Trump for Republican presidential candidate. The Secretary of State has a record for pushing a series of restrictive registration laws using xenophobic rhetoric. | Art by Dave Loewenstein
Only 14.3% of Kansas’ youth voted last election. That’s just one of many troubling statistics. It goes beyond apathy and disenchantment; there are some legit institutional hurdles to keep you from voting.
Normally, after you fill out a voter registration form, you’re done. But not here in Kansas. The Secretary of State pushed through a series of restrictive registration laws using xenophobic rhetoric and now after the initial registration you are put on a suspended voters list until you prove your citizenship. You are guilty until proven innocent.
You prove your citizenship by submitting a copy of your birth certificate or passport to your local elections office, this can be as easy as snapping a photo of your birth certificate with your smart phone and emailing it in, but for so many it’s much more complicated than that.
Guess where the highest rates of suspended voters in Kansas are? College campuses. We know these laws disproportionately disenfranchise the young, the old, people of color, disabled persons, and the poor, but that’s exactly the point.
The same with requiring a photo ID when we know up to 1 in 4 black citizens do not have a government issued photo ID. The same as if you get married and take your spouse’s last name, you have to submit an affidavit explaining your name change just to vote, which disproportionately effects women.
All of these obstacles, obstacles intentionally injected with prejudiced disenfranchisement, are because:
They don’t want you to vote.
And if for that reason alone you should. Voting is an act of resistance. The path to the ballot box is paved with the blood of so very many activists over the centuries that believed in the radical notion of one-person one vote — The radical notion that on one day we would come together as equals to decide our shared future.
Ultimately, we must overturn these discriminatory voter restriction laws, but for now we must work through this oppressive registration system to destroy it.
The current state government doesn’t represent the people of Kansas; it represents the small percentage of citizens who voted for the ruling party. It represents the billionaire Koch brothers that pollute not just our environment, but our politics. Several state representatives won by less than 50 votes and nearly half of the representatives ran unopposed. Get registered, get involved, and together we can get our fellow brothers and sisters into office instead of corrupt corporate hacks.
– Davis Hammet
Davis is building an organization called Loud Light to foster a culture of citizen participation & resistance. To get involved & receive action updates sign up at LoudLight.org
Register to vote in Kansas at www.LoudLight.org/Vote