From left, Faiz Shakir, national political director of the ACLU, listens to a panel discussion including Micah Kubic, executive director of ACLU Kansas, and Bobby Hoffman and Molly McGrath, both with the ACLU, on Sunday in Lawrence. Allison Long Kansas City Star
From left, Faiz Shakir, national political director of the ACLU, listens to a panel discussion including Micah Kubic, executive director of ACLU Kansas, and Bobby Hoffman and Molly McGrath, both with the ACLU, on Sunday in Lawrence. Allison Long Kansas City Star

Kirk Seminoff's Pivot Point

Community engagement editor Kirk Seminoff blogs about news and issues in Wichita and Kansas.

Pivot Point

Pivot point: If only there were common ground with ACLU, Kris Kobach

By Kirk Seminoff

kseminoff@wichitaeagle.com

October 03, 2017 03:47 PM

Kris Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union are frequent sparring partners in court, which made the ACLU’s kickoff of a national “Let People Vote” campaign Sunday in Lawrence that much more interesting.

The ACLU arrived in the state with the nation’s toughest registration laws, pushed through by Kobach’s secretary of state’s office, and said it would go state by state to make it easier for Americans to register.

“This event is an important way of kicking off the national movement to defend voting rights in a place where it has been most under attack for the last six years,” said Micah Kubic, Kansas director for the ACLU.

Kubic also kicked off a statewide initiative called Kansas Coalition for Citizen Participation. Its goals are to repeal Kobach’s strict registration laws, including a photo ID requirement; enact Election Day registration; expand early voting; withdraw from the nationwide crosscheck system, which the ACLU says eliminates eligible voters from rolls because of bad data; and allow for permanent advance voting.

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Kubic told The Eagle editorial board last week that he hopes recent elections, resulting in a more moderate legislature, create more energy for change.

Still, those are extreme long shots in the legislature. Two platform planks — expanded early voting and permanent advance voting — would hopefully receive bipartisan support. There’s no reason a Kansas voter should have to request an advance ballot for every election.

The others are tougher sells, though it should be noted that of the 16 states that have Election Day registration, seven (plus the majority of Maine’s electors) went for President Trump in November’s election. But same-day registration is an un-Kobach as it comes.

Kirk Seminoff: 316-268-6278, @kseminoff