Kansas Supreme Court rules voting not fundamentalTop Stories

June 04, 2024 14:57
Kansas Supreme Court rules voting not fundamental

(Image source from: Apnews.com)

A Kansas Supreme Court decision issued last week on the 2021 election law ruled that voting was not a fundamental right enshrined in the state constitution. These findings drew strong criticism from three dissenting Supreme Court justices. AP What the ruling means for Kansans and future elections. The ruling itself is wide-ranging, combining various cases at different stages of the process and challenging three different sections of the 2021 election law passed by the Kansas Legislature. In that case, a majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the right to vote enshrined in the Kansas Charter did not exist. The measure requires election officials to match signatures on mail-in ballots with voter registration records. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's dismissal of the case and directed the trial court to consider whether the lawsuit violated voters' right to equal protection. However, four of the court's seven justices rejected arguments that the measure violated voting rights under the U.S. Charter.

The decision was written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the most conservative of the court's seven justices, five of whom are appointed by Democratic governors. Judge Stigall rejected the dissenting justices' strong objections, arguing that Section 2 of the Charter of Rights does not provide a "fundamental right to vote," as the group had argued. The dissenting justices said that would ignore long-standing precedent from the Kansas Supreme Court. Justice Eric Rosen said the conclusion that Kansas residents do not have a constitutional right to vote was "fanciful" and that the majority opinion "fails to fulfill the constitutional obligation to protect the constitutional rights of Kans residents." Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge said the decision was concerning and had far-reaching implications. It is “absolutely false and contradicts history, law and logic”. “For more than 60 years, this interpretation of Section 2 has been our record,” he wrote. “Without the slightest indication that they will do that, today’s majority will overturn that precedent,” said Jimmy Hsu, the elections director in Douglas County, Kansas’ most populous county. Vote by mail

Shew said the constant changes in election laws are confusing not only for election officials but also for voters. "I had two voters this morning who said, 'I read something in the paper about signature verification,'" Shew recalled, noting that election rules have remained largely unchanged since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 have remained. "They really were.""I was nervous," he said, "but things changed in 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the law.""I think it's our job to do that "Don't just confuse them, they won't come to the polls," the Republican-led Congress said. The 2021 election reform was rejected by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, and partisan voting fights have erupted across the country since that election. Fights in states like Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin are also ongoing. Smaller states like South Dakota and Nebraska are also in the midst of a battle for electoral control.

Shew said he and other election officials are focused on fairly enforcing state election laws and helping ensure the public's understanding of the rules. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Dan Biles said the court should insist that signature verification requirements remain in place throughout litigation and be administered reliably and consistently across states. This includes an analysis of the procedures, e.g. B. how signature discrepancies are reported, how voters are informed of discrepancies, and whether voters are given a reasonable opportunity to resolve the problem. “The Kansas Constitution clearly guarantees and protects the citizens’ right to vote as the cornerstone of our democratic republic,” Biles wrote. Simply write the signature on the outer envelope. "

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