WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, the District Attorney for Kansas’ Douglas County, Suzanne Valdez announced that her office would not prosecute violations of new voter suppression laws that the Republican Legislature passed in May. HB 2183 and HB 2332 impose burdensome and vague signature requirements, make it a crime to assist and educate voters if the assistance appears to come from an “election official” and prohibit an individual or group from helping more than 10 voters deliver their completed ballots, among other provisions. The legislation became law despite Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto.
Valdez said the laws were too broad and vaguely written, and “[threaten] to create felons out of dedicated defenders of democracy.” Her office will not prosecute violations of the laws, which are already in effect. “Normal, everyday, traditional political activities have been declared unlawful and can potentially carry a prison sentence,” Valdez said. The new laws have already forced voting rights groups to halt their voter registration drives and face challenges in court.