Articles about voting issues in Kansas.

Kansas: House panel prepares for votes on precinct results, candidate advertising | Topeka Capital Journal

The House Elections Committee is scheduled to vote Monday on legislation mandating precinct election results be posted online and clarifying sponsorship of candidate advertisements. The Kansas secretary of state’s office stopped publishing precinct level voting data on their website in 2014. The data remains accessible through the Kansas Open Records Act, but only by request. Bryan Caskey, director of elections for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, cited formatting and privacy concerns for the lack of online reporting of that precinct voting. Much of the data comes to the office in a non-user-friendly format. “Votes cast are a public record,” Caskey said. “However, if a person obtains the list of registered voters, which has the precinct that they’re in, and obtains precinct-level results, pretty quickly you can determine how people cast in small precincts.” Read More

Kansas: Senate bill would remove Kris Kobach’s authority to appoint elections commissioners | Topeka Capital Journal

A dispute over Shawnee County’s election budget spurred lawmakers to weigh a bill Tuesday stripping Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s authority to appoint elections commissioners in Kansas’ four largest counties. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, brought the bill, which would give county commissions the authority to appoint their own election officers to administer local and statewide races. Kobach currently appoints elections commissioners in Shawnee, Sedgwick, Johnson and Wyandotte counties, which collectively spend between $5 and $7 million during an even-numbered year to administer elections, according to Kansas Elections Director Bryan Caskey. Read More

Kansas: Vopat discusses election equipment | Emporia Gazette

Lyon County Clerk Tammy Vopat asked commissioners to consider investing in new voting equipment in the coming weeks during a meeting at the courthouse Thursday morning. The equipment which is currently being used in the county is reaching the end of its life. Vopat said the voting machines currently used by the county are 18 years old, and used in conjunction with a tabulating machine well over 30 years old. Vopat provided commissioners with information about equipment from two companies which have been certified by the State of Kansas and are used by other counties in the region. “We have been working very, very hard and for a long time researching election equipment,” Vopat said. “There have been some big counties that have done that and we’ve been watching and taking notes, and listening about what they did, how they did and what they liked and what they didn’t like. That’s been in the process now for probably three years.” Read More

Kansas: House members weigh age requirements after teens run for governor | Topeka Capital-Journal

Six teenagers’ entrance into the race for Kansas governor has spurred action from lawmakers who would like to see only adults run for executive office. Current Kansas law doesn’t impose a minimum age requirement on candidates for statewide office. This past summer, Jack Bergeson, 16, of Wichita, discovered the lack of an age requirement. He decided to run for office — and he set a trend. Six teens are seeking the state’s top office, and another — Lucy Steyer, of Lenexa — is running for secretary of state. Consternation about the number of teens in already crowded 2018 races inspired a bill discussed Wednesday by the House Elections Committee that would set a minimum age of 18 for candidates running for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state commissioner of insurance. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would also have to live in Kansas for four years before seeking office, but the bill wouldn’t take effect until after this fall’s election. The committee could vote Monday. Read More

Kansas: Budget feud escalates between county officials, county election commissioners | Topeka Capital-Journal

Secretary of State Kris Kobach and election officials in the state’s four large counties Tuesday opposed a bill designed to shift budget authority for elections in the counties of Shawnee, Sedgwick, Johnson and Wyandotte in hands of county commissions. Kobach argued Kansas law permitted election officers in each of these counties — all appointed by Kobach — to unilaterally certify an annual budget to their respective county commission, which must be financed regardless of amount. Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a nonbinding opinion last August affirming Kobach’s interpretation of state law. Under Senate Bill 299, county commissions in these four jurisdictions would be given authority for election budgets and decisions on personnel policy. Read More

Kansas: Bills Clarify That, Yes, Kansans Who Have Trouble Signing Their Names Can Vote By Mail | KCUR

Last November, nearly two dozen mail-in ballots cast by disabled voters got tossed away in Sedgwick County. Some state officials say local election authorities misread a technicality in state law, and the votes could have been counted. Now Kansas lawmakers are pushing through bills aimed at wiping out any confusion — and making sure that people who have trouble filling out their own ballots can still vote by mail. One bill aiming to clarify the law has passed the Senate. Another measure drew no opposition in a hearing in the House on Monday. Read More

Kansas: Kobach acting as his own attorney in upcoming trial | The Wichita Eagle

When a federal lawsuit challenging Kansas’s proof of citizenship voter law goes to trial in March, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach plans to be in the courtroom. He’ll be the attorney defending the law he crafted. Rarely, if ever, do statewide elected officials represent themselves at trial. The unusual situation is made possible by Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Kobach, who is being sued in his official capacity as secretary of state, received permission from Schmidt to represent himself at the trial-court level in the lawsuit after he agreed that the secretary of state’s office will pay for all costs of the case, Schmidt’s office said. Read More

Kansas: Kobach Backs Citizenship Question, Targeting ‘One Person, One Vote’ | TPM

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has shed light on what may be driving the Trump administration’s push to ask about citizenship in the 2020 Census. In an op-ed written for Breitbart, Kobach endorses an approach to drawing voting districts in a way that would undermine the political power of immigrant-heavy communities. That approach, which culminated in a 2016 Supreme Court case, emerges from decades-old conservative opposition to the priniciple of “one person, one vote.” Kobach, a Republican who led President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission, is known for pushing restrictive voting laws. In the op-ed, Kobach backs the idea of asking citizenship on the Census, something the Justice Department has also requested to be included on 2020 questionnaire.  Kobach suggests that doing so would encourage states to draw districts based on number of citizens or some similar metric. Currently, states draw districts based on total population. Read More

Kansas: Kris Kobach’s Office Leaks Last 4 Social Security Digits of Nearly Every Kansas Lawmaker and Thousands of State Employees, Including Kris Kobach | Gizmodo

This is starting to just get sad. Prior to receiving notice from Gizmodo this morning, Kris Kobach’s office was leaking sensitive information belonging to thousands of state employees, including himself and nearly every member of the Kansas state legislature. Along with a bevy of personal information contained in documents that, according to a statement on the website, was intended to be public, the Kansas Secretary of State’s website left exposed the last four digits of Social Security numbers (SSN4) belonging to numerous current and former candidates for office, as well as thousands—potentially tens of thousands—of high-ranking state employees at virtually ever Kansas government agency. Read More

Kansas: Voter data for nearly 1000 Kansas residents exposed in Florida | Associated Press

Efforts to detect voter fraud led to the exposure of private voter data from nearly 1,000 Kansas residents this year by officials in Florida, who released information including partial Social Security numbers to a woman who had filed an open records request. The incident is raising more questions about the Interstate Crosscheck System, which was designed in Kansas to detect double voting or people who register to vote in more than one state, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The Crosscheck system, set up in 2005 by former Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, has been criticized in the past for concerns about security and identifying false matches. In response to the data exposure, Florida election officials on Friday offered a year of free fraud detection and protection services to those affected by the data release. Read More