Politics

Kansas passes election bill which prohibits Governor from making emergency changes to election laws

House Bill 2183 is one of two election bills to be enacted in Kansas after lawmakers overrode Governor Laura Kelly’s veto. The bills, HB 2183 and 2332 are in line with a recent trend of election bills following the 2020 Presidential Election.

In support of the bill, State Representative Blaine Finch said, “We want to make sure that outside money doesn’t come into our elections and potentially corrupt them and we want to make sure that people know that when they cast their ballot, that it is being taken to the right place, it is being counted by the right person, and ultimately the people with the most votes are the ones holding office in Kansas.” HB 2183 calls for, “Creating the transparency in revenues underwriting elections act [and] prohibiting the receipt and expenditure of private moneys by election officials.” 

The bill addresses concerns over mail-in voting by requiring voters to sign off on the delivery of their ballots and limits the number of ballots one can deliver to 10. When mailed, ballots are prohibited from being altered or backdated and signature matching is required. The legislation bars the secretary of state from lengthening the deadline for receiving ballots. House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer regarded the bill as voter suppression, stating, “If you’re like a disabled person or an elderly person, it’s going to be more difficult to get your ballet turned in. It’s unfortunate because it has a chance to suppress voter turnout and I think that is bad.”

Governor Kelly, a Democrat, denied the occurrence of election fraud in Kansas and wrote in a statement, “This bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is designed to disenfranchise Kansans, making it difficult to participate in the democratic process, not to stop voter fraud.” The Kansas House of Representatives passed the bill 80 to 42 and 27 to 11 in the Senate.

ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: KANSAS REFLECTOR

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