Thank you to everyone who came out to our Voters Denied event last night and a special thank you to all of our superb speakers. Voter suppression and gerrymandering have strong impacts on voting and elections in Kansas and the standing-room-only crowd let us know just how important the right to vote is to Kansans.
Davis Hammet, Loud Light; Anita Parsa, Voters Against Crosscheck; Rep. Brett Parker, House Elections Committee member; Micah Kubic, ACLU of Kansas; Moderator: Melinda Lewis, Associate Professor of Practice, KU School of Social Welfare
The messages the speakers shared resonated with the audience both for their harsh, unvarnished take on reality as well as the optimistic tone, which is borne of the hard — and now even occasionally successful — efforts. Micah Kubic’s words in particular are designed to humorously call people to action. Brett Parker is a breath of fresh air as a legislator who works tirelessly for all Kansans, not just his constituents, and is impacting his fellow lawmakers bit by bit. Anita’s story showed that a single, dedicated, hard-working woman’s research can lead to tremendous change. And Davis, as the youngest, but perhaps most effective presenter, showed how one person’s effort to register voters will have lasting impact on politicians and the electorate.
One attendee's question about what motivates Kris Kobach, stands out. Micah provided a response: “I don’t care ... what his motivations are. It doesn’t matter what they are. If you keep doing racist things, at some point you are a racist. If you keep doing vote-suppressing things, at some point you are a vote suppressor, if you keep doing anti-democratic things, eventually you’re not someone who supports democracy and if you keep doing things that are not transparent, eventually you are just a secretive person. So over time motive and outcome become one and the same. ... all I care about are the outcomes I see today, which are tens of thousands of eligible citizens being denied their right to vote, what I see is him crusading around the country for the most extreme anti-immigrant laws that have ever been on the books anywhere, and what I see is him destroying a culture of diversity, and vibrancy, and democracy, that are what I think this country should stand for.”