Current Issues in Voting Rights
Smith’s presentation reviewed some of the current major topics in voting rights in the United States. Because voting rights vary by state or county, Shawnee County or Kansas information is included where possible.
- In Kansas to vote in the Nov 3, 2020, general election you must submit your registration by Oct 13, 2020. Voter registration closing dates vary by state.
- When voting in-person in Kansas you must show government-issued photo identification. Voter ID laws vary by state.
- The Kansas proof of citizenship law was struck down in 2018, but a case in federal court could change Kansas voter registration requirements. Voter registration proof of citizenship laws vary by state.
- If you were convicted of a felony, you can vote in Kansas once you complete your sentence (including any probation or parole). Voting rights are automatically restored upon completion of all supervised release. Ex-offenders in Kansas should re-register to vote. Voting rights of people convicted of felonies vary by state.
- Interference in elections includes cyberattacks and agitation on social media. The Mueller report is officially titled Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. The Russian government interfered in our U.S. 2016 elections. Interference into future elections from outside governments is an ongoing concern. Some electronic voting machines leave a paper trail and some do not. A paper trail may be useful in countering cyberattacks on voting machines. In Kansas the counties decide on voting machines and many counties use paper-based voting. Shawnee County uses paper-based voting.
- For any voting law, the law and the implementation of the laws both affect voting rights and voting outcomes. Poll workers must be trained properly and voters must know their rights.
Challenges with COVID-19 and Voting
Participants in the Tuesday Topics asked several questions about COVID-19 and voting rights.
- Early voting or absentee ballot by mail are strategies to avoid person to person transmission of COVID-19.
- The Shawnee County Application for Advance Ballot by Mail for the November 2020 election is available now.
- The Shawnee County Election Office is open by appointment and encourages residents to use electronic or U.S. Postal Mail for requests, applications and information. (COVID-19 updates as of 5/5/2020)
- Shawnee County Election Office
- Voting Rights from the League of Women Voters
- Know Your Voting Rights in Kansas from the ACLU
If you would like to virtually attend the next month’s Tuesday Topics on June 2, 2020, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link to access the videoconferencing meeting.