A battle raging from Wichita to Topeka could change how you vote — and how long you stand in line to do it. On one side are the county commissions of the state’s four largest counties, including Sedgwick, who seek more control over the costs of elections. On the other are Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his election commissioners, including Tabitha Lehman in Sedgwick County. They say the system isn’t broken and doesn’t need to be fixed. So far, the county commissions are winning. The Kansas House recently passed House Bill 2509, which would give counties control over election budgets. It now advances to the Senate.
And Sedgwick County has already taken a first step to cut Lehman’s spending, canceling the mailing of a $100,000 flyer she usually sends to all voters to promote advance voting and alleviate election-day lines at the polls.
Kobach and Lehman say giving budgetary control to commissions will result in a county-by-county patchwork of voting procedures and invite cost-cutting measures that will lengthen lines and make it harder for Kansas citizens to cast their ballots.