Why, after a safe and secure 2020 election season, did the Kansas Legislature pass voting restrictions?

Why, after an election in which conservatives made gains in the Kansas Statehouse and Republicans kept a prized U.S. Senate seat, did lawmakers look to limit voices and reduce participation?

Why did two lawsuits have to be filed in recent days, by coalitions of state and national groups, targeting HB 2183 and HB 2332?

The answer, unfortunately, is that veto-proof majorities in the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate are in the thrall to the Big Lie. They are desperate to appease supporters of former President Donald Trump, who have been fed the fantasy that their candidate actually won in November and was prevented from taking office by scheming Democrats.

This is nonsense. Joe Biden won the presidency the old-fashioned way: By having more people vote for him. Seven million more, if you want the total.

But in Kansas this shouldn’t matter at all. Trump won the state, and no irregularities were found. The bills passed this last session serve first and foremost to spread a destructive, anti-Democrat narrative. Secondly, of course, they prevent Kansans from voting. And the way they are written means that the burden will fall disproportionately on older voters and communities of color.

Let’s be clear. We support these groups’ efforts.

At a time when we should be increasing all eligible voters’ voices at the ballot box, we are limiting voices. It simply isn’t patriotic to make it more difficult to vote. It isn’t patriotic to limit the number of voices able to participate in our democracy. It isn’t patriotic to answer an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with restrictions (while our state’s U.S. representatives and senators refuse to approve an independent panel to get to the bottom of that debacle).

These bills were rightly vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly, and lawmakers should have taken that opportunity to get off the train. Now the state will be forced to defend these undemocratic laws in court, costing hard-earned taxpayer dollars in the cause of keeping them from voting.

That’s some heavy irony right there.

We want to finish by noting that it’s never too late to do the right thing. Lawmakers can still speak up. They can still state publicly that they made a mistake. These days, they can also repudiate Trump’s belief that he will be reinstated as president in August.

None of this is about conservative or liberal beliefs. None of this is about Republicans or Democrats. This is about bedrock principles of our state and country. Do we work toward a truly representative democracy? Or do we slide toward antidemocratic authoritarianism?

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.