June 23, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Vote Suppression Triumphs in KC, Streetcar Wins 3-1

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For all the alleged worry about voter suppression, the leading liberal worthies of Kansas City–the Sierra Club included–endorsed the Byzantine election process designed to get the Kansas City streetcar extended south to UMKC. 

Indeed, even the most diabolical Russian would have been hard pressed to out-rig the Kansas City streetcar boosters  And the rigging paid off. A special sales tax initiative to extend the streetcar line south to UMKC passed passed 2,588 to 834. Less than 10 percent of the voters in the newly created Transportation Development District (TDD) voted, but that was the plan all along. 

Precious few people got to sport a pin in the recent election, just the planners intended.

The voting in the streetcar election was massively more restrictive than anything Secretary of State Kris Kobach ever thought of imposing on Kansas. The electoral process was designed to discourage all but streetcar boosters. Initially,  residents living within the proposed Transportation Development District, which extends from the Missouri River south to 53rd Street and from State Line east to Campbell, had to first vote themselves into becoming a real TDD.

In that first phase of the streetcar election, voters had to apply for a ballot. There were only two ways to do that. One was to go online and the other was to go to the third floor of the Jackson County Courthouse Downtown and ask for one. Either of these options was sure to discourage the disabled, poor and unhip.

It was worse than that. Citizens could not register to vote online. That would have been too easy. They could only get a ballot online. They then printed it out, filled it out, made a copy of their Voter ID card, and then brought or mailed the package to the Courthouse. A photo ID is far less discriminatory. Hell, the old-fashioned poll tax was less discriminatory.

This TDD issue prevailed by a 2,458 t 1,058 margin. Fewer people still voted in this secondary phase. As reported in the Kansas City Star, the vote authorized the TDD board to impose a new 1-cent sales tax of 30-years duration on the area the TDD covers as well as  an additional 25-year property tax assessment on businesses within one-third of a mile of Main Street.  

Progress rolls along.

 

 

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