Kansas

Articles about voting issues in Kansas.

Kansas: Different county policies could impact Kansas voting | Associated Press

The chances of a Kansas voter’s ballot being counted might depend on which county he or she lives in — especially if they vote by mail. The issue of counties having different standards for determining whether a ballot should be counted came up last week (Monday) during a meeting of the State Objections Board, where Davis Hammet of Topeka objected to Republican Kris Kobach’s victory in the Aug. 7 GOP primary for governor. Hammet’s objections involved how the election was administered and whether the varying standards could have influenced the outcome of a race that Kobach won over Gov. Jeff Colyer by less than 350 votes. Hammet noted Johnson County rejected 153 mail-in ballots because the signature on the envelope used to mail the ballot back to the county did not match the voter’s signature on file in the county election office. In contrast, Shawnee and Douglas counties’ election officials didn’t reject any ballots because of mismatched signatures, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Full Article: Different county policies could impact Kansas voting | Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Kansas: State board rejects challenge to Kobach’s bid for governor | The Washington Post

An all-Republican state board on Monday rejected a liberal Kansas activist’s challenge to Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s listing as the GOP nominee for governor on the November ballot after he argued that hundreds of legal votes were not counted in the primary election. The State Objections Board concluded that Davis Hammet, of Topeka, could not show that Kobach’s narrow victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the GOP primary could be overturned by the issues Hammet raised. It also rejected Hammet’s argument that Kobach’s chief deputy should not have been involved in reviewing the challenge. Kobach defeated Colyer by 343 votes out of more than 317,000 cast. Colyer’s supporters initially raised some of the same questions Hammet did in his objection, but the governor conceded the race a week after the primary. “It is not merely that an objection has been made for one of the appropriate grounds. You also must present evidence that this election would be overturned,” said Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker, who presided over the board’s meeting.

Full Article: Kansas board rejects challenge to Kobach’s bid for governor - The Washington Post.

Kansas: Court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach | Associated Press

A grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled. The court’s one-page opinion was released Friday and offered no explanation behind the ruling, which addressed Kobach’s appeal of a lower court’s order to summon the grand jury, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The high court’s ruling stemmed from a petition first filed in 2016 by Steven Davis, a Lawrence resident who accused Kobach of intentionally choosing not to process online voter registrations and preventing qualified residents from voting in the 2016 election. The Douglas County District Court twice rejected Davis’ petition, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to support the allegations against Kobach.

Full Article: Kansas court rules for grand jury investigation of Kobach | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: ‘This makes no sense’: Johnson County knows election delay’s cause. Critics skeptical of fix | The Kansas City Star

Faulty software code was to blame for an overnight delay in Johnson County’s primary election night results, an embarrassing ordeal that kept people across the country waiting for the outcome to several high-profile Kansas races. “The slow reporting of results was unacceptable and we apologize,” Tom Burt, president and CEO of Election Systems & Software, said in a statement Monday. “We know the election office and other Johnson County government leaders put their faith in us and we let down our valued partners.” Burt went on to say that the Omaha-based company, the county’s elections vendor, has rewritten the portion of the code that caused the delay and initial tests of that new code were successful. He said testing will continue so the new software can be certified prior to the general election. … “The big issue apparently is that they didn’t test this system at scale,” said Duncan Buell, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of South Carolina, who has studied that state’s election results extensively. “You need to test for all possible scenarios.”

Full Article: JoCo knows election delay’s cause. Critics skeptical of fix | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: ES&S says it’s rewritten faulty code that caused big delays — but can’t guarantee new software will be approved for use by November | Shawnee Mission Post

Twenty days after company officials told Johnson County residents technicians were “working around the clock” to identify the issue, Election Systems & Software said this morning that it had rewritten a portion of the software code that led to a massive delay in reporting primary election results earlier this month. But it’s not a guarantee that the updated software will be approved for use in November’s elections. “The slow reporting of results was unacceptable, and we apologize,” said Tom Burt, president and CEO, ES&S. “We know the Election Office and other Johnson County Government leaders put their faith in us and we let down our valued partners. After exhaustive analysis to pinpoint the issue, we rewrote the portion of code that caused the issue, and initial tests of the optimized code were successful. We will continue testing, and we look forward to federal certification of the optimized software.”

Full Article: Voting machine company says it's rewritten faulty code that caused big delays — but can't guarantee new software will be approved for use by November.

Kansas: ‘There’s no road map for him’: Deaf candidate for Kansas House aiming to make history | The Kansas City Star

As the Olathe candidate knocked on a voter’s door, a dog inside barked and the sound of footsteps approached. The candidate didn’t look up. He’s deaf. The door opened. The homeowner started to say hello but trailed off as the candidate gestured to his ear and smiled. He pointed to his shirt — “Haulmark for Kansas” — and held up a pamphlet advertising his campaign. The homeowner nodded, tilting his head slightly, and looked on. There have been deaf city counselors and a deaf mayor, but Chris Haulmark, if elected, would be the first deaf legislator — at the state or national level — in U.S. history, according to the National Association of the Deaf. “It will be the very first time in America’s history that finally a deaf person has been invited to the table to sit with the other politicians, legislators and lawmakers and be able to make decisions together,” Haulmark, 39, said recently at an event commemorating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Full Article: Chris Haulmark campaigns to be first deaf lawmaker in U.S. | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Kobach said voter fraud in primary was unclear. Then he won | The Kansas City Star

As uncertainty loomed about the outcome of the GOP primary for governor in the days after the Aug. 7 primary, Kris Kobach said it was unclear how many non-citizens voted in the election. Back then, the race was too close to call. But now, a week after he secured a 350-vote victory over Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kobach is dismissing concerns that voter fraud could have changed the election’s outcome. In an Aug. 21 Breitbart column, Kobach writes that his race against Colyer “was the closest in modern history in Kansas.” But he maintains that “it is highly unlikely that voter fraud changed the outcome,” despite telling The Star during the weeklong post-election feud between him and Colyer when a winner was undecided that it was unclear how many “non-citizens” voted in the Republican primary.

Full Article: Kobach said voter fraud in primary was unclear. Then he won | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Lawmakers seek changes in handling disputed election ballots | The Kansas City Star

Kansas lawmakers are vowing to take a fresh look at the state’s election laws after the slim margin between Kris Kobach and Jeff Colyer in the Republican race for governor exposed a sometimes creaky and subjective vote-counting system. Even before the fight over the results of last week’s election, a nationwide review of state election systems ranked Kansas below nearly every other state. Ballots improperly filled out, mail-in ballots without postmarks, even the vote of a person who later died – all landed in the laps of local election officials who made sometimes-conflicting decisions. Two of the largest counties —Johnson and Sedgwick — took different approaches to counting some ballots cast by unaffiliated voters. For some, the deciding factor over whether their vote counted was what county they live in. 

Full Article: Lawmakers seek changes in handling disputed election ballots | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Johnson County accepts nearly 1,500 new election ballots | The Wichita Eagle

Gov. Jeff Colyer’s campaign staff left Monday morning’s canvassing meeting in Johnson County with the belief that the state’s most populous county would be counting all unaffiliated voters who cast ballots in the primary for governor. But it appears that Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker misspoke on the issue Monday morning, leading to confusion for the Colyer campaign and others about which ballots will be counted when Johnson County does its final vote tally Tuesday. Metsker referred to questions about the status of unaffiliated voters who were wrongly told to cast provisional ballots at their polling places and said 57 unaffiliated voters in Johnson County who were incorrectly told to cast provisional ballots would have their votes counted.

Full Article: Johnson County accepts nearly 1,500 new election ballots | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Local officials wield power as Colyer vs. Kobach undecided | The Kansas City Star

Local officials spread across Kansas’ 105 counties will exercise an incredible amount of power this week when they determine whether thousands of ballots should count in the closest primary race for governor in Kansas history. The roughly 9,000 provisional ballots, awaiting rulings from county officials across the state, will likely decide whether Gov. Jeff Colyer or Secretary of State Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP’s standard-bearer in the fall. More than 40 percent of the provisional ballots were cast in the state’s two most populous counties, Johnson and Sedgwick. The ballots have the power to swing the Kansas race in Colyer’s favor or solidify a victory for Kobach. Kobach’s role as the state’s chief election official has heightened the scrutiny of the vote-counting process in the contentious race. After a backlash this week, Kobach announced Friday that Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker will oversee the process in his stead.

Full Article: Local officials wield power as Colyer vs. Kobach undecided | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: State’s most populous county fumbles 2nd major election | Associated Press

Kansas’ most populous county left the rest of the state waiting nearly 13 hours until Wednesday morning for complete primary election results that proved to be pivotal in a high profile and close Republican race for governor — the second consecutive major election fumble by the affluent Kansas City-area county. “I’m embarrassed for our county,” Johnson County election commissioner Ronnie Metsker told The Kansas City Star . “It’s embarrassing for our office, it’s embarrassing for me, for our team and for the vendor.” In an odd twist, one of the candidates in the tight GOP race for governor, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is also the statewide official responsible for elections. Under Kansas law, the secretary of state appoints the top elections officials in the four most populous counties, including Metsker in Johnson County. Kobach quickly came to his colleague’s defense and said the delays were not Metsker’s fault.

Full Article: Kansas' most populous county fumbles 2nd major election.

Kansas: Kobach plans to recuse self from Kansas vote count process | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a cable news interview Thursday night that he plans to recuse himself from the vote tally process in the face of pressure from Gov. Jeff Colyer and mounting confusion over vote totals. Kobach said that he would recuse himself in an interview with CNN hours after Colyer had sent a letter demanding that Kobach refrain from instructing county election officials on the counting of ballots in the primary race for governor on a day when the vote total narrowed to roughly 100 votes as multiple counties reported that vote totals were incorrect.

Full Article: Kobach plans to recuse self from Kansas vote count process | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Colyer campaign claims voters ‘turned away’ on same day hundreds of new votes found | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a cable news interview Thursday night that he plans to recuse himself from the vote tally process in the face of pressure from Gov. Jeff Colyer and mounting confusion over vote totals. Kobach said that he would recuse himself in an interview with CNN hours after Colyer had sent a letter demanding that Kobach refrain from instructing county election officials on the counting of ballots in the primary race for governor on a day when the vote total narrowed to roughly 100 votes as multiple counties reported that vote totals were incorrect. “I’ll be happy to recuse myself. But as I say, it really doesn’t make any difference. My office doesn’t count the votes. The counties do,” Kobach said in an interview with host Chris Cuomo. Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr told The Star that the governor had not been notified by Kobach or his office that he intended to recuse himself. He said Coyler’s team found out about it through news reports.

Full Article: Colyer campaign: voters ‘turned away.’ Kobach to recuse self | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: No law stops Kobach from overseeing recount in his own race | The Kansas City Star

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Wednesday that he has no plans to recuse himself from a recount process in the race for governor because any counting of ballots would take place at the county level. “The recount thing is done on a county level, so the secretary of state does not actually participate directly in the recount,” Kobach said at a campaign event in Topeka after initial results showed him winning by fewer than 200 votes. “The secretary of state’s office merely serves as a coordinating entity overseeing it all but not actually counting the votes,” Kobach said, contending that his role puts him at arm’s length from the actual recount. No law requires Kobach to recuse himself, but legal and political experts said that he should do so to maintain trust in the election. Kobach, the state’s top election official, led Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary by a mere 191 votes Wednesday morning after each of the state’s 105 counties had posted election returns after technical difficulties in Johnson County delayed results on election night.

Full Article: No law stops Kobach from overseeing recount in his own race | The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: Software glitch is confusing voters in election for governor | The Wichita Eagle

When you go to the polls to vote for governor between now and Tuesday, don’t be surprised if you don’t see every candidate that you’re expecting to see on your ballot. They’re all there, but you may have to look a little deeper than usual to find the candidate you want to vote for. Because of an unforeseen software glitch in Sedgwick County’s new voting machines, not all the candidates’ names appear on the first screen when the voting machine gets to the gubernatorial election. To see all the names, you have to touch “more” at the bottom of the screen, which opens another page with the rest of the candidates. So on the first screen page that comes up when you’re voting in the governor race, you might see, for example, Gov. Jeff Colyer’s name, but not his chief rival, Kris Kobach. Or you might see Kobach’s name but not Colyer’s. Or you might see both, or neither.

Full Article: Software glitch is confusing voters in election for governor | The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas: Judge orders Kobach to pay more than $26,000 for contempt | Associated Press

A federal judge imposed on Wednesday more than $26,000 in sanctions against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as punishment for his “contemptuous behavior” during a voting rights case that challenged the state’s proof-of-citizenship registration law. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found Kobach in contempt in April stemming from a 2016 preliminary injunction. The decision handed down Wednesday specified the amount of attorney fees and expenses awarded after considering arguments from the parties. Robinson ruled in June that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws violate the constitutional right to vote. That decision struck down the Kansas proof-of-citizenship registration law and made permanent the earlier injunction that had temporarily blocked it.

Full Article: Judge orders Kobach to pay more than $26,000 for contempt | Tri-City Herald.

Kansas: Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats | ProPublica & The Kansas City Star

Kris Kobach likes to tout his work for Valley Park, Missouri. He has boasted on cable TV about crafting and defending the town’s hardline anti-immigration ordinance. He discussed his “victory” there at length on his old radio show. He still lists it on his resume. But “victory” isn’t the word most Valley Park residents would use to describe the results of Kobach’s work. With his help, the town of 7,000 passed an ordinance in 2006 that punished employers for hiring illegal immigrants and landlords for renting to them. But after two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted. Now, it is illegal only to “knowingly” hire illegal immigrants there — something that was already illegal under federal law. The town’s attorney can’t recall a single case brought under the ordinance. “Ambulance chasing” is how Grant Young, a former mayor of Valley Park, describes Kobach’s role. Young characterized Kobach’s attitude as, “Let’s find a town that’s got some issues or pretends to have some issues, let’s drum up an immigration problem and maybe I can advance my political position, my political thinking and maybe make some money at the same time.”

Full Article: Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats — ProPublica.

Kansas: Appeal in ACLU-Kobach fight says federal voter law doesn’t pre-empt state law | The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a statement this week contending a federal judge erred in deciding the state’s voter registration law is unconstitutional in requiring new voters to prove their citizenship. The statement was filed Tuesday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. It is an initial step in an attempt by Kobach to overturn the June 18 decision of U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson. The statement lists two claims as a basis for Kobach’s appeal and says other issues may be raised later for appellate judges to consider. It was filed on Kobach’s behalf by Kansas solicitor general Toby Crouse, an official in the state attorney general’s office. The 2011 voter registration law requires that people registering to vote for the first time provide documents proving U.S. citizenship. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law in a 2016 lawsuit.

Full Article: Kansas appeal in ACLU-Kobach fight says federal voter law doesn't pre-empt state law - News - The Topeka Capital-Journal - Topeka, KS.

Kansas: Appellate court rejects Kobach’s request to block Douglas County grand jury probe | Lawrence Journal-World

The Kansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s request for a new hearing to decide whether a grand jury should be called to investigate his office for allegedly mishandling voter registrations. But Kobach’s office has already asked the Kansas Supreme Court to review the matter, a motion that could postpone any action in the matter until after the Aug. 7 primary election, in which Kobach is seeking the Republican nomination for governor. Steven X. Davis, a Democratic candidate running for the 45th District House seat in Douglas County, filed petitions last year seeking to call a citizen-initiated grand jury, which is allowed under Kansas law. Davis has alleged that Kobach, or others in the office, engaged in “destroying, obstructing, or failing to deliver online voter registration,” as well as possessing falsely made or altered registration books, preventing qualified electors from voting and “being grossly neglectful with respect to their election duties.”

Full Article: Appellate court rejects Kobach’s request to block Douglas County grand jury probe | News, Sports, Jobs - Lawrence Journal-World: news, information, headlines and events in Lawrence, Kansas.

Kansas: With Elections Looming, ACLU Scrambles To Check If Kobach Registered Voters | KMUW

With less than a month until the 2018 primaries, the question of whether Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is in compliance with a federal court order to fix its voter registration practices is still up for debate. Kansas can no longer ask would-be voters to dig up documents like passports or birth certificates after a court ruled that unconstitutional and in violation of federal election law last month. Judge Julie Robinson ordered Kobach’s office to make sure that tens of thousands of previously blocked voters are now on the active voter rolls.

Full Article: With Elections Looming, ACLU Scrambles To Check If Kobach Registered Voters | KMUW.