News Briefs

Kansas ACLU creates PAC to highlight reproductive and voting rights issues in House races

By: - October 12, 2022 2:14 pm

Voting booths stand side by side on July 29, 2022, at the Shawnee County Elections Office. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas has launched a political action committee, aiming to combat what it describes as misinformation ahead of the November election.

Kansans United for Civil Liberties, which is supported by the ACLU but formed as a separate entity, is focused on issues of reproductive freedom and voting rights. Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas, said the PAC would focus on state legislature races this election cycle due to ongoing concerns about reproductive rights. 

“There are some folks who are interested in revisiting that issue and tried to circumvent the people’s will in some cases, and so we thought it was particularly important for folks to know where state legislative candidates stand on that issue,” Kubic said. 

The PAC sent out questionnaires for House candidates in Districts 14,15, 28 and 49 about their stances on reproductive freedom, voting regulations and marijuana legalization, among others. Kubic said the PAC surveyed these districts because they were areas in which candidates had stark differences on the issues, especially concerning reproductive freedom. 

In these districts, Republican candidates did not answer whether they would vote to protect abortion rights if there are further attempts to remove abortion protections from the state constitution. 

All four Democratic candidates answered the questionnaire, with no response from the Republicans. 

“It’s unfortunate that some candidates did not respond,” Kubic said. “At the same time, all of the candidates involved have made other public statements and have in some cases have a record of public service. And so our job is to compare the issue records as best as we can, and make sure that voters have the information that they need to make decisions, regardless of whether candidates choose to respond to the survey.” 

The PAC will expand its outreach in the coming weeks, with members sending mailers, doing phone banks, canvassing and digital advertising. The organization is nonpartisan, with the goal of increasing civil liberties across the state. 

Kubic said the PAC would stay nonpartisan by publishing candidate information rather than endorsing one side or another. 

“The way that we maintain our integrity is by not endorsing candidates, by not telling people what to do,” Kubic said. “By simply providing them with the information, and more importantly, with telling them exactly what the candidates themselves said. We’re not telling them whether the candidate is right or wrong, or whether they should vote for that person or not. We’re simply providing them with important information.” 

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Rachel Mipro
Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.