There have been fears circulating within liberal America that the Republicans are trying to impede their path to public office by putting red tape on some people’s right to vote. This began after the Tea Party movement halfway through former President Barack Obama’s first term in office. After the midterm election, 19 states rolled back voter rights by 25 laws that restricted access to the ballot.
One of the Democratic party’s most loyal advocacy groups is taking matters into their own hands. On Oct. 1, the ACLU launched its national Let People Vote Campaign. In an interview with MSNBC, the ACLU National Political Director, Faiz Shakir, noted it has been 52 years since there was a grassroots movement to expand voting rights. Given the current turbulence and gridlock on Capitol Hill, the ACLU is choosing to go through their 50 affiliates on the state level. This gives them the flexibility to tailor each campaign to the specific needs of the individual state. This campaign kicked off on Sunday in Kansas. Why start the biggest voter rights campaign since the Voting Rights Bill was enacted in 1965 in Kansas Kris Kobach.
Kansas Secretary of State Kobach is a fierce proponent of rolling back voter rights. He has even been tapped by President Donald Trump to lead his commission on voter fraud. The commission has been accused of “trying to collect personal data about every voter in the country, promotingblatantfalsehoodsabout supposed instances of voter fraud in the 2016 election,sanctioning voter suppression, andoperating in secrecyin violation of federal law.” Kobach successfully barred 10,000 Kansas voters from participating in their most important civic responsibility.
“Donald Trump and Chris Kobach have this world view that too many people are voting and we’ve got to stop that. They have this voter fraud myth that all these illegal people are voting, undocumented people, and people who shouldn’t be voting are voting,” Shakir said to MSNBC. “We have an alternative world-view that we actually have too little voter participation in America. It’s too hard to vote. The lines are too long. We need to promote voter registration.”
The ACLU has organized activists in all 50 states, called People Power, to campaign for voter rights. Each campaign is tailored to the needs of individual states. Among the actions that People Power are advocating for are: restoring the right to vote for people with prior criminal convictions; creating independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions; enacting early voting periods; and implementing automatic voter registration, online voter registration, and Election Day registration.
In Kansas, People Power activists will be trying to reverse the controversial photo ID requirements.