Archive for July 2017

ACLU wants changes to voter registration information on Kansas secretary of state’s website

by Stephen Koranda, Kansas News Service

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says wording on a state website might leave voters confused about whether they’re eligible to cast a ballot. The group wants Secretary of State Kris Kobach to make changes.

At issue is information about Kansas’ requirement that new voters prove their citizenship with a document such as a birth certificate or passport. Court rulings say that requirement currently doesn’t apply to people who register to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles or use the federal voter registration form.

The secretary of state’s office revised wording on the site after Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service raised questions about inconsistencies.

ACLU of Kansas Legal Director Doug Bonney says those revisions are not enough. The ACLU has sent Kobach a letter asking for further action.

“They’re going in the right direction, but it’s still not adequate,” says Bonney. “It’s misleading and doesn’t take into account the court orders we have from both state and federal judges.”

In particular, the ACLU has a problem with a notice on the website. It says language included in the notice is strikingly similar to wording a federal judge previously said should be stricken from the page.

In October, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ordered that this language be removed from the secretary of state’s website:

“For elections that take place after the November 8, 2016, general election, it is at this time unknown whether you will be registered to vote depending on subsequent court rulings and should provide an acceptable form of proof of citizenship to your local county election office or to the Secretary of State to ensure future registration.”

As of Wednesday, a notice on Secretary Kobach’s site included the following language:

“In future elections, it is unknown whether you will be registered to vote depending on subsequent court rulings and should provide an acceptable form of proof of citizenship to your local county election office or to the Secretary of State to ensure future registration.”

Bonney says that language is too similar to what the judge ordered removed.

“It still makes it seem like no matter how you register you have to provide proof of citizenship,” Bonney said. “That’s inconsistent with our federal court rulings.”

The ACLU also is asking for changes on forms mailed to people who have registered to vote but who have not provided a proof of citizenship document.

Samantha Poetter, a spokeswoman for Kobach’s office, said it has received the ACLU letter but has no comment.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to kcur.org.

For more information, visit http://kcur.org/post/aclu-wants-changes-voter-registration-information-kansas-secretary-state-website.

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Another dangerous day of heat in forecast

National Weather Service graphic


The excessive heat warning is still in effect today, and will last through 8 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather forecast is pretty much like yesterday’s. Today’s high temperature may reach 98 in Wyandotte County, with a heat index as high as 107, the weather service forecast stated. The excessive heat will hang on until Sunday, when the high will be around 90.

The weather service said an excessive heat warning means a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. Heat illnesses are likely. Residents are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check on relatives and neighbors.

Cooling centers are expected to open today.

Those who work outdoors or spend time outside should take extra precautions, the weather service stated. When possible, they should reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Also, they should wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible, drink plenty of water, and check on relatives and neighbors. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Residents should call 911 in a heat emergency. Children and pets should never be left in an unattended vehicle for any amount of time, as temperatures rise fast to a dangerous level.

Tonight, it will be clear with a low of 78 and a south wind of 8 mph, according to the weather service.

Friday, it will be sunny and hot, with a high near 99, the weather service said. The heat index will be around 107, and there will be a south southwest wind of 7 to 11 mph.

Friday night, it will be mostly clear, with a low of 79, according to the weather service. There will be a south wind of 9 mph.

Saturday, there will be a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m., the weather service said. The high will be near 98, with a southwest wind of 7 to 9 mph.

Saturday night, there will be a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a low near 75, according to the weather service. Between a tenth and a quarter-inch of rain may fall.

Sunday, the high will be about 90, with partly sunny skies, the weather service said.

Sunday night, it will be partly cloudy with a low of 69, according to the weather service.

Monday, it will be mostly sunny with a high near 87, the weather service said.

Monday night, the low will be around 68, with partly cloudy skies, according to the weather service.

Tuesday, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 87, the weather service said.

Tuesday night, expect a low of 71 with partly cloudy skies.

National Weather Service graphic

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KCKCC announces another acting president

Jacqueline Vietti


Kansas City Kansas Community College announced an interim president Wednesday, about five days after having announced another one.

Wednesday, the college announced in a news release that Jacqueline Vietti has been appointed acting president of the college, effective immediately.

On July 14, the college Board of Trustees placed president Doris Givens on administrative leave, with pay, pending a review by an external party, according to the news release. On that day, Edward Kremer, the dean of mathematics and science, was named interim president. Wednesday’s news release stated that Kremer will remain as KCKCC interim vice president of academic affairs.

“The KCKCC Board of Trustees remains committed to maintaining a positive and supportive educational environment for its students, faculty and community,” the college’s news release stated. “The Board appreciates the community’s understanding and support for the College, which remains the most progressive, forward-looking, forward thinking, forward moving, entrepreneurial and diverse community college in the entire state of Kansas and beyond.”

Vietti was chosen with the unanimous support of all board members, according to the news release. She has 17 years of experience as president of Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, and served as interim president of Emporia State University for six months. Her doctorate degree is from Kansas State University.

According to an earlier statement from the board chairman, the board discussions were held in closed session, and the board could not comment because of confidentiality concerning personnel actions. Kansas law allows the college to close a meeting to discuss personnel.

On Wednesday night, J.D. Rios, board chairman, said that in making its decision on Wednesday, the board was seeking someone for the acting president position who had a lot of experience as a community college president.

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