This week two significant events happened in Kansas that have empowered more people to vote.
First, a U.S. Appeals Court affirmed that the Kansas DPOC law requiring a certified birth certificate in order to register to vote is unconstitutional.
Second, Kansas Democrats announced that since switching to all-mail primary for the presidential primary, they have already seen almost four times the amount of Democrats voting than four years ago.
The Appeals Court ruling upheld an earlier ruling that found a law created by Kris Kobach disenfranchised tens of thousands of Kansans, primarily young Kansans. The 2013 law caused 31,089 voters to have registration applications “cancelled or suspended” in Kansas.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Sec. of State Scott Schwab tried to appeal to higher courts to try to reinstate the law, but the fact that they lost means many Kansans who may not have been able to vote this election can cast their vote and have it counted.
That’s good news for everyone. The success of mail-in Democrat primary is also good news, and not just for Democrats.
There’s still several days of voting left. Democrat voters have until Saturday to get their presidential primary ballots to party headquarters.
But the difference is startling. As of Monday evening, the party has processed 138,430 ballots for the mail-in primary, according to the Kansas City Star. In 2016, 39,266 caucus goers chose Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The spike in turnout occurred despite Sanders dropping out this month and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee. Voters still could have voted for Sanders if they wanted, or a couple of other candidates that have also suspended their campaigns. The ballot also allowed voters to “rank” their preference based on first choice, second choice and so forth.
If you’re a Republican hoping to have another conservative option other than Donald Trump, you’ll have to look elsewhere than your own party. Kansans Republicans decided in September to cancel the presidential primary for 2020.
Kansas Democratic Party Chair Vicki Hiatt called the Democrat primary turn-out a “testament to the growing enthusiasm and cohesion of Democrats to make Donald Trump a one-term President.”
Regardless of the reason, the excellent turnout is good reason to be doing more mail-in elections.
Democracy only works if people vote. Would not our government better serve us if more people voted?
-- Ryan D. Wilson