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Douglas County won't prosecute violations of new voter law

Polling locations open to Kansas City, Missouri, voters.
Posted at 12:59 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 13:59:50-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez said Tuesday her office will not prosecute violations of new voting laws that took effect on July 1.

Valdez said in news release the law is too vague and too broad and "threatens to create felons out of dedicated defenders of democracy."

One of the law's provision would make it harder for nonpartisan groups and neighbors and candidates to collect and return absentee ballots for voters.

"Normal, everyday, traditional political activities have been declared unlawful and can potentially carry a prison sentence," Valdez said.

Republicans supporters of the legislation argued the voting law, which is being challenged by separate lawsuits in federal and state courts, will prevent "ballot harvesting," particularly by candidates or campaign workers.

Another provision makes it a crime to engage in activity that "gives the appearance of being an election official."

Valdez said the terms "appearance" and "conduct" were subjective and noted that impersonating an election official is already illegal.