US Supreme Court ruling could help Kansas defend voting laws

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FILE – This June 29, 2021, file photo shows the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowing the Civil Rights-era federal Voting Rights Act could help Kansas defend election measures enacted by Republican state legislators.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the assessment of Thursday’s decision came from both Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt and veteran election-law attorney Mark Johnson.

The new state laws took effect Thursday and are being challenged in separate lawsuits in federal and state courts.

Kansas now limits the number of absentee ballots people can deliver to election officials for others and bars out-of-state groups from mailing absentee ballot applications to voters.

GOP lawmakers enacted the changes over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto and called them anti-fraud measures. Voting-rights groups say they hinder voter education and registration.

Schmidt said the decision sends a strong message that states can take steps to secure their elections.

Johnson said the decision doesn’t help either Kansas lawsuit by changing how how courts approach such cases.

“Judges will say ‘Well, the Supreme Court isn’t too sympathetic to these types of cases and so there is no reason we have to be,’” he said.

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