WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Oct. 1, civil and voting rights organizations announced that they had reached an agreement with Kansas to expand voter registration opportunities at two statewide agencies. According to a statement released by Gov. Laura Kelly (D), Kansans will now be able to register or update their voter registration at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department for Children and Families. The two agencies will also provide additional resources so that individuals receiving public benefits are aware of voter registration opportunities.
This victory for Kansas voters originates in November 2019 when the organizations Loud Light, ACLU of Kansas and the ACLU’s national Voting Rights Project approached the state regarding its alleged noncompliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which sets guidelines for state government agencies that provide public assistance to also provide voter registration assistance. The groups argued that “recent administrations allowed the agencies to abandon the obligations under this law” and worked with Kelly’s administration to bring the two agencies at issue back into compliance with the NVRA. The agencies will now provide registration information and applications at their physical offices as well as on their websites and will add voter registration information to the materials they provide to Kansans receiving assistance from their offices. This settlement was reached in order to avoid litigation, according to press releases by both the governor and the organizations.