Kansas' top court allows challenge to key 2021 voting law

 December 17, 2023

The Supreme Court of Kansas is going to allow a voting law that was passed in 2021 to be legally challenged. 

The law at issue, according to the Associated Press, made it a felony for anyone to impersonate an elections official.

This was one of several voting laws that Kansas' Republican-led legislature passed in 2021, following the 2020 elections and the voting concerns that resulted therefrom. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) unsuccessfully attempted to veto the laws but was overruled by the state legislature.

Since then, however, so-called voting rights groups have been challenging the laws in the courts.


This particular law at issue in this case prohibits "conduct that gives the appearance of being an election official" or conduct that would cause another person to believe that one is an election official.

This law has been challenged on the grounds that it hinders voter registration.

Per the Associated Press:

Four groups argued in the lawsuit that their members could be prosecuted even if they were clear that they were not election officials but others still mistakenly believed they were.

The lawsuit was already rejected by a lower court. A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled that the groups challenging the law did not have the right to do so because they had not been injured by the law - which is one of the prerequisites to bring such a case.

The voting rights groups, however, have taken the matter to the Kansas Supreme Court, and the members of this court have decided to allow the legal challenge to proceed. The justices cited the vagueness of the law as the reason for allowing the challenge to continue.

The latest

The case was supposed to resume at the appellate court level, but it appears that the Kansas Supreme Court may just decide the matter itself.

The Kansas City Star reports, "The state Supreme Court on Friday morning reversed a decision by the Kansas Court of Appeals dismissing the challenge and in its opinion sent the case back to the appeals court. But two hours later, the Supreme Court released an order signed by Chief Justice Marla Luckert pausing the directive in the opinion sending the case back."

The outlet adds, "Luckert wrote that the court instead intends to transfer the case back to itself — a signal it may rule on the law without allowing the Court of Appeals to rule first."

At the time of this writing, it is unclear how this is all going to play out. But, this has given the voting rights groups hope that they may now get the chance to get rid of this law.

Loud Light, one of the groups challenging the law, has put out a statement, saying, "While we’re excited about the victory, we also can’t wait for a resolution on this so that we can get back to safely registering voters."

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