ACLU steps in, voter registration in Atchison of July 12 in line with rest of state

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 11:40 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 12:28 PM CDT
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ATCHISON, Kan. (KCTV) - The ACLU has entered the voter registration controversy in Atchison, Kansas, and now it’s back open to residents.

KCTV reported Thursday that many voters in Atchison were turned away while trying to register to vote in the upcoming primary. Atchison closed voter registration on June 23 because of a special election on a sales tax question scheduled for July 14. The rest of the state can register until July 12.

Several people were caught by surprise and crushed they would not be able to vote in the August primary regarding the abortion amendment.

“I find it distressing. I find it distressing,” said Meredith Doyle.

“I’m not going to be able to vote on something that is so close to me whether I’m voting yes or no. I should be able to vote,” Josie McCullough said.

After our report aired, the ACLU stepped in and threatened to file litigation because the county was violating federal law. This morning, the Secretary’s general counsel determined that those wanting to vote in the August 2 primary must be allowed to.

“In this crucial and historic of an election, it would have been an egregious violation of these voters’ rights for an election official to prevent voters from registering up until the deadline as provided by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA),” said Sharon Brett, Legal Director for the ACLU of Kansas.

The Secretary of State’s office sent this statement:

New voters will have until July 12 to register, and the county clerk will accept and process them. Anyone who has difficulty with registration through the July 12 deadline can contact the ACLU at 866-OUR-VOTE.