There is a certain level of irony to an elected official being turned away from voting. This was the case for Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
According to Slate, when Lucas went to go vote in Missouri’s primary on Tuesday he was turned away after being told he “wasn’t in the system.” Lauri Ealom, a woman who works as a director of the Kansas City Election Board, said that the mistake occurred when an elderly poll worker mixed up Lucas’s first and last name when trying to find his registration. Eventually the error was resolved and Lucas said he would return later in the evening to vote.
He decided to turn the mistake into a moment of advocacy. Speaking to the New York Times, he said, “I get that mistakes happen. We need to make sure we have a system where we don’t have mistakes.” He went to talk about how he was able to return but that there are people who wouldn’t be able to do the same due to work obligations or child care priorities. He also noted how, as an elected official, he was able to get clarification from an official. Those who aren’t in his exceptional position may not be allowed the same courtesy.
While this was a simple case of human error, it also shows how easily a person could be dissuaded from voting. I was most surprised by the fact he was turned away and wasn’t offered to be registered at the voting location. We need to make it easier for folks to vote, not harder. There are already people in positions of power who are actively working to suppress voter turnout, we don’t need simple mistakes unintentionally assisting in that effort.