The future of the Kansas ballot is now in the hands of a three judge panel in Topeka. That panel is deciding whether state law requires the Kansas Democratic Party to name a new candidate after Chad Taylor dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate against Pat Roberts. This latest lawsuit was brought by a registered Democrat who’s son works for Governor Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign. It asks the court to force the Kansas Democrats to name a replacement candidate. But, the man who filed the lawsuit didn’t show up for court. “He filed a lawsuit, dragged them into court in the middle of a busy campaign season,” Randall Rathbun told the three judges, pointing at the leaders of the Kansas Democratic Party. “Then he didn’t show up?” When David Orel, the man asking the state to force the Kansas Democrats to name a new candidate, didn’t show up in court Monday afternoon the Democrats’ attorney asked the judges to dismiss the case. The judges decided to go ahead and hear arguments then decide later what to do.
“This is a question, a serious question I think, of disenfranchising voters,” said Thomas Haney, the attorney representing Orel. He said it was a simple case.
Both sides agreed the decision is really about the meaning of one word in Kansas’ election law, shall.
“The language is clear, the law states that the Democrats shall name a new candidate,” said Haney. “If that statute said may we wouldn’t be here.”
But the Democrats’ attorney disagreed, saying courts have given the word ‘shall’ different interpretations depending on the circumstances.