We are a faith-based, nonprofit organization that works with hundreds of Kansas voters on issues that impact their community. We are non-partisan and do not endorse candidates for public office.
A key value of ours is that every person has a God-given, inherent dignity that deserves respect. Our goal is to unlock the power of people to reach their potential, engaging in and improving their communities. This has included working with churches and other community organizations to register voters and learn how to participate in the electoral process. And as a result, we see changes that benefit everyone – providing new opportunities, relief, and new generations of social entrepreneurship for the community.
This proposed rule change is a hatchet strike at the ankles of democracy – and the communities who will suffer the most from it are exactly the people we should be inviting into the democratic process. Vulnerable and marginalized communities, especially low income and people of color, have faced great barriers to representation and recognition from their government. This rule change will only make the problem worse. Adding costly and unnecessary measures that complicate, delay, and deter participation in the electoral process is cynical, shortsighted, and antithetical to our values as a nation.
Equitable communities fare significantly better than areas divided by high disparities – it’s a good moral priority and a savvy economic goal.
Inevitably, some will disagree. This is not surprising – there were even pickets and fierce opposition to affording women the right to vote. But most troubling is the facile lie at the heart of this policy change: if you don’t understand how this measure places an undue burden on communities in our state, you have no business implementing public policy on this scale.
We urge the commission to reject the request to change federal voting standards to accommodate proof of citizenship requirements.