Person

Davis Hammet

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Voter Rights Activist

Organization:

Loud Light

Davis Hammet is the founder and executive director of Loud Light, a Kansas-based voter advocacy group. Hammet was previously an LGTBQ activist and was involved in the creation of the Equality House protest against the Westboro Baptist Church. He has led a series of lawsuits against the Kansas state government on voter access and election administration issues.

Career

While attending Florida State University, Davis Hammet was a campus coordinator for RePower, a left-wing activist training organization. He also attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received grants from the National Science Foundation. After graduating in 2010, Hammet interned for the U.S. Senate campaign of then-Florida governor Charlie Crist (I, later D-FL) while simultaneously working as a research assistant at Florida State University. [1] [2]

In 2012, Hammet became director of operations at Planting Peace, a global left-of-center anti-poverty group. [3]

In 2013, Hammet moved to Kansas. Hammet expressed opposition to the policies of then-Governor Sam Brownback (R), which allegedly harmed the state’s economy and permitted anti-LGTBQ discrimination. In an op-ed, Hammet stated that in Kansas “politicians are more dangerous than the hate groups, and that the people of Kansas are nothing like the politics that dominate.” [4]

Planting Peace’s founder noticed a for-sale sign on a home across the street from the controversial anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. The house was purchased and turned into the “Equality House,” for which Hammet (who identifies as queer [5]) has been credited as co-creator. The Equality House was painted with the LGBT rainbow symbol and became a place for Planting Peace members to sleep, including Hammet. Eventually, it became the organization’s main headquarters. [6]

Loud Light

In 2015, while still working at Planting Peace, Davis Hammet founded Loud Light. Hammet decided to switch primarily from LGTBQ advocacy to voter access advocacy in response to alleged voter suppression efforts in the Kansas legislature. In 2016, Hammet engaged in an aggressive voter registration campaign after a Kansas law requiring new voter registrations to provide evidence of a birth certificate was struck down in federal courts. [7]

Lawsuits

In July 2019, the ACLU of Kansas won a lawsuit on behalf of Loud Light and Hammet against then-Johnson County election commissioner Ronnie Metsker for failing to produce a list of voters who had cast provisional ballots. [8]

In June 2020, the ACLU Kansas filed a lawsuit on behalf of Loud Light and Hammet against Secretary of State Scott Schwab (R) for allegedly violating the Kansas Open Records Act. Loud Light had requested public voter information from the state and filed the lawsuit after waiting more than 300 days. The following month, the Shawnee County District Court ordered Secretary Schwab to produce the voting records within 24 hours. [9]

In 2021, Loud Light and Hammet sued Secretary Schwab again, this time for removing a function from the state’s website that showed which provisional ballots weren’t counted. Provisional ballots in Kansas are ballots created when a voter goes to the wrong polling station, but which can later be counted if filed correctly. In October, the Shawnee County District Court ruled that the removal of the function did not violate the Kansas Open Records Act because by removing the function, the state no longer kept records of unfiled provisional ballots, and therefore could not be compelled to publicly display non-existent records. [10]

Voter Registration Cessation

In August 2021, Hammet announced that Loud Light was ceasing all voter registration efforts due to the passage of a new Kansas voter security law. According to a YouTube video from Hammet, the law imposes harsh penalties on individuals who impersonate electoral officials, and the language of the law broadens the criteria of impersonation. [11]

References

  1. “Davis Hammet.” LinkedIn. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davishammet/. ^
  2. Ciesielski, Cadence. “Pre-Law and nonprofit leadership host Davis Hammet for ‘Loud Light: Voting Rights in Kansas.’” Kansas State University. September 23, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.k-state.edu/today/announcement/?id=77218. ^
  3. “Davis Hammet.” LinkedIn. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davishammet/. ^
  4. [1] Hammet, Davis. “How I fell in love with Kansas – and spent the next five years trying to change it.” Washington Post. November 27, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/11/27/how-i-fell-love-with-kansas-spent-next-five-years-trying-change-it/. ^
  5. Hammet, Davis. “How I fell in love with Kansas – and spent the next five years trying to change it.” Washington Post. November 27, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/11/27/how-i-fell-love-with-kansas-spent-next-five-years-trying-change-it/. ^
  6. Ciesielski, Cadence. “Pre-Law and nonprofit leadership host Davis Hammet for ‘Loud Light: Voting Rights in Kansas.’” Kansas State University. September 23, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.k-state.edu/today/announcement/?id=77218. ^
  7. Hammet, Davis. “How I fell in love with Kansas – and spent the next five years trying to change it.” Washington Post. November 27, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/11/27/how-i-fell-love-with-kansas-spent-next-five-years-trying-change-it/. ^
  8. “Loud Light & Hammet v. Schwab.” ACLU Kansas. June 24, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.aclukansas.org/en/cases/loud-light-hammet-v-schwab. ^
  9. “Loud Light & Hammet v. Schwab.” ACLU Kansas. June 24, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.aclukansas.org/en/cases/loud-light-hammet-v-schwab. ^
  10. [1] Bahl, Andrew. “Judge rules Kansas secretary of state didn’t violate open records law in dispute over ballot report.” CJOnline. October 13, 2021. Updated October 14, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2022, https://www.cjonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2021/10/13/secretary-state-scott-schwab-violated-records-voting-election-law-dismissed-kansas-aclu-loud-light/8444038002/. ^
  11. “Loud Light Suspends Voter Registration Due to New Voter Suppression Law.” YouTube. June 30, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-27wPlXMjP4. ^
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