It’s county fair season across Kansas, but among the community group booths lined up alongside food vendors and livestock competitors, there is a noticeable absence: League of Women Voters volunteers with clipboards registering new voters.
For more than a century, the nonpartisan voting rights group has led voter registration drives, often with local election officials. But when Republican lawmakers in the Sunflower State passed new legislation this year that could lead to criminal charges for people who run voter registration drives, the League of Women Voters of Kansas ceased its efforts.
“It’s like asking our League members to cut off an arm or leg,” said Jacqueline Lightcap, co-president of the group, which filed a lawsuit against top state officials June 1 with three other local voting rights groups. “It’s second nature. It’s part of what we do.”