Don’t forget, November 4th is the General Election. 
If you are not able to vote that day, Kansas is one of the many states who allow early voting (by anyone).   If you require assistance with voting you may have someone enter the booth with you.  That person could be your family/friend or someone working at the election poll.  Educate yourself on the issues that are important for you and vote for the person you feel is the best candidate.

     

  •  You must show a photo ID if you are going to vote at the polls.
  • BUT, if you apply for a permanent advance ballot, you do not have to show ID (you must have a permanent disability or illness).
  • To vote you must be registered!  Voter registration deadline is October 16, 2012
  • Get registered to vote now so you don’t have to hassle with proof of citzenship requirements that will begin January 1, 2013.
  • Once you are registered to vote, you also may qualify for a free non-drivers ID card (even if you have signed up for permanent advance voting).
  • Deadline to request permanent advanced voting is Friday, November 2, 2012.  However, if you do it earlier you will ensure you have enough time to mail your ballot back.

If you have more questions about voting visit one of the websites listed below.

www.KsDisabilityVote.org

http://www.drckansas.org/drc-programs/voting

Kansas has recently changed its law about requiring an ID in order to vote.  (You may have seen a commercial lately about it.)  DO NOT let this stop you from voting! First off, a registered voter who does not possess any of the valid ID documents may obtain a FREE nondriver’s ID from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Valid forms of ID include: driver’s license, nondriver identification card, concealed carry of handgun license, U.S. passport, U.S. military identification, student ID from accredited postsecondary institution, identification card issued by an Indian tribe, public assistance ID or employee badge issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office.  Also, persons over the age of 65 may use an expired photo ID document.

Individuals who have “a permanent disability or an illness which has been diagnosed as a permanent illness” may apply for permanent advance voting.  These individuals have their ballot mailed to their home every election and are exempted from the photographic identification requirements.

In order to receive the free nondriver’s ID, a person must be a registered voter, and not own any photographic ID documents.  The person must also have proof of their residence and identify (so, a piece of mail and birth that certificate.)  If a person doesn’t have a birth certificate, they can obtain a free one.

If you have any questions regarding a valid ID, obtaining a free ID, obtaining a birth certificate, or permant advanced voting contact the Secretary of State’s office at http://www.kssos.org/ or (785) 296-4564.

Voter Disenfranchisement

Categorized: Advocacy

This request for information is from the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. They are working to protect our right to vote freely. Data shows that people with disabilities, people living in poverty, and minorities are kept from voting when laws such as the ones Kansas has passed are applied. Please review this information and contact the ACLU if the criteria applies to you.

DON’T BE FOOLED – YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY A DIME TO VOTE!

Starting this year, Kansas voters need to have photo ID in order to vote. The list of accepted IDs includes: driver’s licenses, state ID cards, concealed carry handgun licenses, U.S. passports, employee IDs, military IDs, Kansas postsecondary student IDs, and welfare ID cards. If you or someone you know is struggling to get an accepted form of photo ID, please call us at 816-994-3315, especially if:

  • You were born in a state other than Kansas, lack all of the above IDs, and do not have a certified copy of your birth certificate. If so, you’ll have to spend money to vote and that’s unfair and unconstitutional.
  • You lack all of the above IDs and are being forced to spend money on a marriage certificate or other document in order to obtain a Kansas ID card.
  • You lack all of the above IDs, but have a tribal ID.

The election is less than 2 weeks away and we are in danger of losing what we worked so hard to get in the last legislative session. As November 2nd gets closer it becomes more apparent that our next governor will be Senator Brownback. For the disability community this is a very scary prospect. He has already stated there would be across the board cuts and freezes on spending from the state general fund. We know that in the past he has not supported the disability community including voting against the FMAP extension this year. However; there are checks and balances in our state government; if we are able to hold on to the coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats that was formed in the last session, the disability community stands a much better chance of making it through the next.

This PDF contains the names of all the House members who voted for/against last year’s budget and the sales tax increase, both of these things made certain that we retained CIL funding and that the HCBS PD and DD waivers received additional money to help with the waiting lists. Please make note of the legislators that are running in your areas that supported these things and ask them what you can do to help. Volunteer your time to make phone calls, pass out fliers, or help with other needed activities.

Another way that you can make your voice heard for the disability community is by writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. Make sure that your communities know how cuts in services impact your lives, explain what issues are important to you for our elected officials to support, and share your personal stories if you are able. The Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK) has put together some sample Letters to the Editor that you can use to model your own letter after. They are available here.

This election will be the beginning to the next HUGE fight for the disability community in Kansas. We need all of us working together to ensure that necessary services are not cut, discrimination is not allowed, and the disability community is not disenfranchised any further by our state legislature. Please make contact today with your local campaigns and newspapers. We must use our collective voice to make things happen.

Did you know that the Kansas Constitution sanctions discrimination against all people with a mental health issue?

Probably not.  In fact, the issue had basically flown under the political radar until 2008. That’s when a group of mental health consumers and advocates learned that the state constitution allows the Legislature to take away the right to vote from this broad class of people with disabilities.

To address this issue, the Kansas Mental Health Coalition (KMHC) is conducting a statewide “Yes on 2” public education campaign to protect the right to vote for all Kansans. Its goal is to convince voters to support Constitutional Amendment #2 on the ballot.

“Voting Yes on Constitutional Amendment 2 in the November 2nd General Election will protect the voting rights of our friends, family members and neighbors with mental health issues once and for all,” said Dr. Roy Menninger, Chair of the KMHC.

At issue is the fact that the Kansas Constitution contains outdated language that allows the Legislature to take away the right to vote from any Kansan with a “mental illness.”  Kansans with mental illness are the only group of people with disabilities whose voting rights are discriminated against in the Kansas Constitution.

And it’s a large group. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that 1 in 5 (20%) of all Americans has some sort of mental health issue. According to the KMHC, if their “Yes on 2” public education campaign is successful, it will protect the right to vote for over 500,000 Kansans.

The “Yes on 2” campaign also stresses that Constitutional Amendment #2 potentially protects the right to vote for all Kansans.  This is because  “mental illness” is such an incredibly broad term that it encompasses conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) or many normally acquired conditions of the aging process, like Alzheimer’s.

“If we live long enough, it is quite possible that each of us could acquire a mental health problem,” said Dr. Menninger, “which is why the ‘Yes on 2’ campaign needs to win at the ballot box.”

The “Yes on 2” campaign argues that it is wrong for the Kansas Constitution to allow voting rights to be stripped from everyday, law abiding and patriotic taxpayers who happen to have mental health issues.  What’s more, campaign organizers say, it is unconscionable to take away the right to vote from so many Kansans.

Among those Kansans: soldiers returning home from military conflict with PTSD and victims of sexual assault who experience mental health issues.  The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) studies have found that nearly 20% of all soldiers come home with PTSD, and 33% of sexual assault survivors received professional counseling for mental health issues arising from their assault.

“Mental Illness is a natural part of the human condition that impacts so many lives,” said Rick Cagan, Executive Director of NAMI Kansas.  “A ‘Yes’ vote on Amendment #2 protects YOUR right to vote and the right to vote of all Kansans – your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.”

Organizers of the “Yes on 2” campaign also point out that this should be a non-controversial, non-partisan issue. Both the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor have endorsed it, and every State Representative and State Senator has either voted for it or endorsed it.

In order to provide equal time, we tried to contact some organization to speak out against this Constitutional Amendment, but we literally could not find anyone.  There was no organized opposition as this Amendment made its way through the legislative process, and there remains no organized opposition.  However, the “Yes on 2” campaign believes that their biggest challenge is not what groups or individuals may say publicly, but rather what people may think privately in the voting booth.  This is because the term “mental illness,” unfortunately, still carries a negative stigma.

“A big part of the ‘Yes on 2’ campaign is battling the misperceptions about mental illness,” said Amy Campbell, Executive Director of the KHMC.  “This is really about educating the public to understand that people with mental illness are everyday people – they pay taxes, work jobs, and raise families.  The Kansas Legislature should not be able to take away their or your right to vote.”

Ultimately, a vote of the people will decide the issue, which will appear on the November 2nd General Election ballot.  According to the KMHC if a majority of voters vote “yes” on Constitutional Amendment #2, then the right to vote for all Kansans with mental health issues will be protected—now and in the future.

“We encourage every voter to go to www.protectvotingrights.com to find out more about this important issue and then Vote Yes on Amendment #2 in the November 2nd General Election,” said Dr. Menninger.