A bill to fix scheduling and ballot-access problems for an upcoming election to replace Rep. Mike Pompeo is set to be considered in the Kansas House on Thursday. House Bill 2017 would revise current state law to comply with federal deadlines for sending military absentee ballots overseas. The bill also would allow the Libertarian Party to field a candidate in the special election and ease the signature requirement for independent candidates to get on the ballot. Rep. Keith Esau, R-Olathe and chairman of the House Elections Committee, said he expects a floor vote on the bill Thursday. The bill is being fast-tracked because Pompeo has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, and he is expected to be confirmed by the Senate in a matter of days. That will create a vacancy in the Wichita-based 4th Congressional District, which must be filled by a special election.
Under current law, the election would have to be held 45 to 60 days after the governor receives notice of the vacancy and proclaims an election. Republican and Democratic parties would have to wait 25 days before picking their nominees.
That would make it impossible to comply with federal law mandating that states send absentee ballots to military, diplomatic and other overseas voters no less than 45 days before the election. HB 2017 would add a month to the period between the governor’s proclamation and the election.