CLC’s Oral Arguments Show Why Kansas Anti-Voter Law Must Be Struck Down

A voter registration form with text saying 'Vote by Mail' and a pen

Campaign Legal Center's (CLC) challenge to the Kansas law H.B. 2332 was before District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil in the case VoteAmerica v. Schwab on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. Pro bono counsel from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett presented oral argument, seeking to stop enforcement of the Kansas law.

This law restricts the distribution of mail ballot applications to voters by nonprofit organizations that work to promote higher levels of voting.

The plaintiffs filed suit in federal court on June 2, 2021 to block the anti-voter provisions in H.B. 2332, which are set to go into effect in January 2022. CLC, alongside pro bono counsel, is representing VoteAmerica and the Voter Participation Center, two nonprofits that work to promote voting and would see their efforts severely hindered if the law takes effect.

Earlier this year, the Kansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto and passed H.B. 2332, an omnibus elections bill that prohibits out-of-state entities from mailing advance mail ballot applications to any voter in the state, in violation of the organizations’ ability to engage in voter engagement efforts that constitute political speech protected by the First Amendment.

H.B. 2332 also criminalizes the mailing of advance mail ballot applications personalized with the voter’s name, address and other information.

As Alice Huling, CLC’s senior legal counsel, voting rights highlighted in a Tweet thread about the oral arguments, “This law would create deliberate barriers to voting by mail for many Kansans — especially folks without access to a printer or transportation.”

Under this law, voting is less accessible for many Kansans. CLC is fighting to ensure more Kansans have their right to vote honored and that they can cast their ballot and have it count.

Both Kansas and the U.S. as a whole saw record voter turnout in last year’s presidential election, which is a sign of a healthy democracy. It’s a shame that politicians in Kansas see voting as a threat to their power.

The court should allow CLC’s clients, nonpartisan organizations, to engage with voters and help people navigate confusing systems and facilitate voting by mail.

The Kansas anti-voter law, H.B. 2332, is unconstitutional. It attacks our freedom to vote, limiting opportunities for people to have a say in the decisions that impact their lives — from curbing the pandemic to creating jobs to making health care affordable. The court should strike it down.

Georgia is a Communications Assistant at CLC.
Increasing Voter Registration to Ensure Democratic Participation