Civil Rights

Twenty members of the Kansas Legislature absorbed public comment on redistricting and the evils of gerrymandering during a town hall in Lawrence at the University of Kansas. Similar town halls were held throughout the state. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Lawrence redistricting town hall participants object to racial, prison gerrymandering

BY: - August 14, 2021

Town hall participants in Lawrence urge legislators to avoid partisan, racial and prison gerrymandering when crafting new political boundaries in 2022.

Supreme Court allows pursuit of DNA testing by convicted Cowley County murderer

BY: - August 13, 2021

Kansas Supreme Court decides 2020 law grants district courts authority to consider requests for post-conviction DNA testing even if case remains on appeal.

Overland Park Republican Rep. Chris Croft, center in mask, said during a Pittsburg town hall on redrawing state political boundaries the process is made more challenging by delays in release of U.S. Census Bureau population data. Overer(Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Release of U.S. Census population data amplifies political anxiety about redistricting

BY: - August 12, 2021

Kansans at town hall meetings insist the Legislature rely on community interests instead of partisan aspirations to draw new political boundaries.

U.S. Senate to try again on voting rights in September

BY: - August 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to bring a comprehensive voting rights package to the Senate floor for a vote when the chamber returns from recess next month. Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Wednesday the Senate will take up a compromise version of the voting and elections bill, S.1, known […]

U.S. House Democrats document history of discrimination in shaping John Lewis voting rights bill

BY: - August 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — A House panel released a new report on Friday that will help lawmakers craft  legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis that aims to protect voting rights across the United States. The 124-page report, put forth by the House subcommittee on elections, outlines the U.S. history of discrimination […]


Audio Astra: Civil rights, political divisions, a long-ago zoo, school standards

BY: - August 6, 2021

Audio Astra reviews recent audio reporting on Kansas news, including podcasts and radio stories. Eric Thomas directs the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and teaches visual journalism and photojournalism at the University of Kansas. The variety and quality of Kansas audio this week is the best collection since I started this recap in May. While I would normally […]

Protestors in support of former President Donald Trump gather May 1, 2021, outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix where Ballots from the 2020 general election wait to be counted. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

Trump allies’ lingering election ‘audits’ spark public skepticism, concerns in Congress

BY: - August 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The months-long, Republican-led investigation in Arizona into the results of last year’s presidential election has cost millions of dollars and produced no evidence yet of major issues in tallying Maricopa County ballots.  Yet supporters of former President Donald Trump are still attempting to follow Arizona’s lead by pushing for so-called audits in several […]

State legislators rallying in D.C. urge Congress to act on voting rights

BY: - August 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democrats joined with dozens of state legislators Tuesday at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol, demanding that the Senate skip August recess and pass critical voting rights legislation in reaction to Republican-led states that have adopted restrictive voting laws. Dozens of legislators from North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas, among […]

Kansas attorney general will enforce voting law where district attorney refuses

BY: - August 2, 2021

TOPEKA — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Monday fired a warning shot ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections by making it clear his office could prosecute voting crimes anywhere in the state. Schmidt referenced last week’s announcement by Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez, who said she would not prosecute violations of a new voting […]

Southern cities epicenter of civil rights history, flanked by Topeka and D.C.

BY: - August 2, 2021

Sweep of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail covers prominent landmarks in the South as well as Topeka in the Midwest an D.C. in the Northeast.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus say farewell at the conclusion of Monday’s memorial ceremony for the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis in the Capitol Rotunda. Lewis, a civil rights icon and fierce advocate of voting rights for African Americans, died July 17. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool/Getty Images)

House Dems to unveil revamped voting rights bill named for the late John Lewis

BY: - August 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — House Democrats plan this week to unveil a new version of legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis that could protect voting rights across the United States. During a Friday news conference, House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said that House Democrats are expected to introduce […]

Lesbian student’s courage prevails over bigotry by Kansas middle school principal and bus driver

BY: - August 1, 2021

TOPEKA — Kristi Gadino didn’t appear to be bothered by the “shockingly profane” language used by middle school students on her bus. An investigator who reviewed video of a Jan. 27 bus ride home from North Lyon County Elementary School wrote in her report that boys and girls could be heard saying “gay-assed motherf***er,” “jerk […]