KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas wants to ensure that people who vote or plan to vote in the upcoming election can do so safely.
The civil rights and civil liberties group announced a partnership with the Election Protection Hotline in conjunction with The Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights and Stinson LLC.
The effort hopes to have legal help available to people who run into trouble while voting.
Voters can call the hotline and receive real-time help. If necessary, 50 lawyers will be available between the three groups to help voters who call in.
“With COVID-19, emotionally charged elections and millions of early voters, we understand that this process can be confusing,” Lauren Bonds, ACLU of Kansas legal director, said. “This is precisely why we are encouraging people to proactively visit the Election Protection Hotline to make sure that their vote counts.”
The ACLU of Kansas launched the initiative after a voting discrepancy involving a Kansas student who is studying in Chicago. The Wyandotte County Elections Office wrongfully mailed the Kansas student' ballot to the wrong address and initially refused to mail a replacement, according to the group.
Wyandotte County Elections Commissioner Bruce Newby received a letter from the ACLU that stated there would be legal action if the Kansas voter didn't receive a replacement.
"Your office’s interference in (this voter’s) attempt to obtain a replacement ballot is so blatantly inconsistent with clear statutory requirements that it likely rises to the level misdemeanor misconduct of an election officer," the letter stated.
The Wyandotte County Elections Office eventually sent the Kansas voter a replacement ballot.
Voters who wish to contact the Election Protection Hotline can do so at 866-OUR VOTE.