In 2018, Kansas dodged a voter suppression bullet when Kansan voters elected Democrat Laura Kelly to the governorship over notorious vote suppressor Kris Kobach. Kobach has remained in the news after his defeat: it turns out Kobach was one of the driving forces behind the Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. But the voter suppression zombie that is Kris Kobach is not done trying to bring down democracy in Kansas. Kobach recently announced that he is running for U.S. Senate in Kansas – although he did misspell his name on his registration form. Kobach has claimed that a misspelled name is a sign of voter fraud and that those voters should be purged from voter rolls–according to his rules, it seems like he should be purged from running for Senate. Kansan voters need to be sure to say no to Kobach again in 2020.

This session, Kansas was able to pass a modest pro-voting rights legislation. Kansas enacted a bill (SB 130) that allows a Kansan voting with an advance ballot to correct signature deficiency prior to the final canvas, and allows voters to vote at any polling location within a county if approved by county election officials. Moreover, with a Democratic governor, Republicans were unable to further restrict the right to vote in Kansas.

However, with Republicans in charge of the legislature, most of the pro-voting policies proposed by Kansas Democrats failed. Democrats introduced the Kansas Free State Election Act (HB 2220), which would remove the unnecessary proof of citizenship law, allow for same day registration and voting, and establish permanent advanced voting – all initiatives that spur democracy. Kansas Democrats also introduced legislation to establish automatic voter registration (SB 159), expand early voting (HB 2091), allow voting by provisional ballot when voter moves to a new county without registering (HB 2189), establish same day voter registration (HB 2092SB 43), and an expansion of voter registration services (HB 2090). All of these measures had strong Democratic support and would make Kansas elections more fair and accessible. All of these measures failed due to Republican opposition.