[Image via kansastravel]

After years of debate over policies that restrict voting, the State of Kansas has enacted a new law expanding access for Sunflower State voters. KWCH has more:

Governor Laura Kelly has signed a new bill she says makes voting more convenient in Kansas.

“Over the past decade, we have seen countless efforts aimed at making voting more difficult in this state,” Governor Kelly said in a press release. “I hope this will be the first of many laws that help ensure that every voice is heard in our democratic process and that every vote is counted.”

The new law amends the law concerning advance ballots, signature requirements and polling places. Her office says it will expand and improve voting opportunities.

House Substitute for Senate Bill 130 will give county election officials the discretion to allow all registered voters to cast their ballot at any polling place in their county on election day.

It also requires county election officers to attempt to contact each voter who submitted an advance voting ballot without a signature or with a signature that does not match the signature on file.

The voter will be allowed to correct their signature before the commencement of the final tallying of votes in that county.

“This law is about local control and protecting every vote,” Kelly said. “I applaud all of the local and state officials who worked together to make this law a reality, especially those in Sedgwick County who were the driving force behind it.”

This is truly a significant turnaround from previous debates in Kansas, which focused largely on proof of citizenship for voters and fears of voter fraud. Kudos to everyone involved – especially Sedgwick County’s Tabitha Lehman (a CEA student!) – for working together to see these changes through. It’s a story of cooperation and collaboration that has been all too rare in Kansas in recent years. Stay tuned…