Supreme Court to hear case with claims of suppression of voters’ rights groups

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 11:21 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court will hear a case out of Shawnee Co. in which voting organizations claim a state law suppresses their ability to aid Kansans.

At 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Kansas Supreme Court says it will hear the case of Appeal No. 124,378: League of Women Voters of Kansas, Loud Light, Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Inc., and Topeka Independent Living Resource Center v. Scott Schwab, in his official capacity as Kansas Secretary of State, and Derek Schmidt, in his official capacity as Kansas Attorney General.

Court records indicate that in the case out of Shawnee Co. the appellants have challenged two sections of a relatively new crime in the State of Kansas - a severity level 7, nonperson felony to misrepresent oneself as an election official knowingly.

The Appellants have said the statute’s broad language results in criminalizing voter education, engagement and registration activities. They asserted that occasionally during past voter assistance activities, an observer believed volunteers to be election officials despite clear identification as volunteers.

Schwab and Schmidt have disagreed and contend that the voter organizations’ concern is unfounded as the statute demands the misrepresentation at issue to be the product of knowing conduct before residents are subject to prosecution.

Court records show that the Court of Appeals found the appellants failed to satisfy their burden to show an actual injury in fact as required to have standing to litigate their claims. In absence of standing, there is no justiciable controversy and the case was dismissed.

The Supreme Court said issues on review include whether the Court of Appeals made a mistake when it held the appellants had failed to establish a sufficient standing and when it declined to conclude the challenged provisions violate the Kansas Bill of Rights.