Speaker: Voter Suppression ‘Rampant’ Across the Country

Carolyn Dewitt says there is no such thing as voter fraud.

The president and executive director of Rock the Vote, one of the largest national voting and voter rights organizations, spoke at Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union Tuesday night as part of the UFM Community Learning Center’s Lou Douglas Lecture Series. She said the term comes up in instances when the election result is questionable.

Dewitt said President Donald Trump and former President George W. Bush both used the term and put committees into action when their elections were contested.

“There is no such thing as voter fraud, it’s just politicians trying to get you to be scared,” she told the four dozen people in the auditorium. “They create laws that strip away your rights as voters.”

Dewitt said the voter fraud conversation is significant in Kansas because of the work of Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state and Republican gubernatorial nominee.

Kobach was part of the Trump administration’s commission to investigate claims of voter fraud, along with Vice President Mike Pence. Kobach requested sensitive information from states, but a majority of states did not turn over most of the information, citing state laws, Dewitt said. Kobach himself did not turn over all the information from Kansas, citing state law. The commission was eventually decommissioned, citing uncooperative states.

Previously, Kobach lobbied for a law to provide proof of citizenship, and tried to initiate a two-tiered voting system, in which some people could vote in federal elections while some could only vote in state elections, Dewitt said. The American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued Kobach to overturn the law.

Voter suppression, she said, is rampant across the country.

“(Voting rights are) being stripped away, and we need to be very conscious of it,” she said. “They chip away at our freedom to vote, and are undermining our democracy.”

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