Students in the Blue Valley school district Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program attended an event on voting that included campaigning for a Democrat candidate for the Kansas Senate, but the Republican running for the same seat was not invited to the event.
In an email to the Sentinel, Kaci Brutto, Director of Communications for the Blue Valley School District, said, “The candidate running against Joy Koesten was not invited; however, efforts focused on inviting a representative sample of people who collectively had varied experiences in civic engagement.”
The event was put on by the League of Women Voters and they were showcasing options for students to register to vote. A student in the CAPS program, who attended the event and asked not to be identified, contacted the Sentinel about the event that took place in January 2020. The student specifically had questions about third party websites that students were recommended to use.
Aside from the Kansas Secretary of State’s website for voter registration, another third-party website called KSVotes.org was recommended to students. The use of third party websites to collect voter registrations in Kansas is legal. However, KSVotes.org is connected to Democratic activists, and it collects data on the people that use their site.
“We have a number of protocols in place to ensure that the data is both secure and accurate,” said Kate Davis.
“KSVotes.org does not sell the data it collects, and it does not share its data for use by third-parties,” says Davis.
Per the website, “We may disclose personal information that we collect or you provide as described in this Policy to third parties.”
KSVotes.org says it’s a non-partisan group that “does not support any political campaigns or parties.” But records and interviews with Davis show that KSVotes.org was founded by BluePrint Kansas and GPS Impact with help from a lobbying group name Loudlight and the League of Women Voters. Blueprint Kansas was founded by Brian McClendon, the Democrat candidate for Secretary of State in 2018. GPS Impact is a democratic communications firm. Under the portfolio tab of the website of campaigns GPS Impact worked on is a picture of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.
KSVotes.org does not need to give voter information to third party groups, because the non-partisan non-profit is owned and operated by Democratic partisan outfits. The Blue Valley School district invited the KSVotes.org’s owners to speak to students about voting but allowed it to be used as a campaign stop for a democratic candidate while a democratic lobbying firm signed up students to vote using a non-partisan front in KS Votes.
The partisan groups are allowed to sign up people to vote and according to the Secretary of State’s office “there is no requirement for third parties to register with the state, disclose their ownership or sponsorship or divulge their nonprofit/for-profit classification.”
The League of Women Voters initially acknowledged our questions, but in the end, they never responded with answers.