WICHITA, Kan. — Several Wichita-area black ministers have announced plans to encourage a get-out-the-vote campaign to fight voter ID laws.
The ministers are members of the Midwest Conference Fifth Episcopal District, which represents 120 churches in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. They met last week for their annual Midwest conference in Wichita, The Wichita Eagle reported.
"We believe the right to vote is precious," said the Rev. Dr. Carieta Cain Grizzell, pastor of Grant Chapel AME Church in Wichita, during a news conference Friday at St. Paul AME Church in Wichita.
The ministers contend voter ID laws that require a photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship for new voter registrations weaken civil rights by making it harder for minorities and first-time voters to cast ballots. They plan to work with community organizations and colleges to register new voters. The goal is to mobilize at least 80 percent of eligible voters in their churches and communities to vote in this year's primary and general elections.
The Rev. Reuben Eckels of New Day Christian Church in Wichita said Kansas People's Action, which represents about 1,300 people across the state, will host a June 21 voters education seminar in Wichita and will start canvassing neighborhoods to get out the vote. The group will also help find documentation for first-time voters and take them to election offices to register.
The Rev. Wade Moore of Christian Faith Centre in Wichita said the voter drive will be statewide.
"If we expect to have any hope, if we expect for our children to have any future, then we have to get out and vote and fight for our children," Moore said.