The 2023 legislative session resulted in substantial improvements to the administration of Kansas elections with the adoption of the Secretary of State’s recommended changes to the state’s election laws. Several new provisions in state law are directly relevant to the operation of the two political parties in Kansas.
NEW LAWS AFFECTING POLITICAL PARTIES
Electoral College (HB 2087)
This bill complies with The Electoral Count Act, a federal law enacted in December 2022, and repeals some old electoral state statutes.
- Each political party shall adopt procedures to select presidential elector candidates and select them in accordance with those rules. The old provisions requiring a party convention or the state committee to select electors have been repealed. [K.S.A. 25-301, K.S.A. 25-804] These changes confirm that state law does not control how a political party selects its elector candidates.
- The electors will now convene on the first Tuesday after the second Wednesday in December at noon in the Capitol (December 17, 2024). Prior to HB2087, the electors were meeting on the first Monday. [K.S.A. 25-802]
- Each political party must certify the names of its presidential elector candidates to the secretary of state on or before September 1 of the year in which there is a presidential election. [K.S.A. 25-804]
Presidential Preference Primary (HB 2053)
The state legislature decided to resurrect the state-run presidential preference primary, which had only been used in 1980 and 1992.
- The Republican and Democratic parties have a state-run primary election on March 19, 2024. [K.S.A. 25-4501a(b)]
- Either party may opt out of participating in the primary by notifying the Secretary of State on or before December 1, 2023. [K.S.A. 25-4501a(b)]
- Each party must provide the Secretary of State with a certified copy of the party’s rules for allocating and selecting delegates to its national convention on or before January 2, 2024, for publication on the agency website. [K.S.A. 25-4507(b)]
- The state board of canvassers must meet on or before April 12, 2024, to certify results at both statewide and congressional district and will provide the official results to each state party. [K.S.A. 25-4506(b)]
Primary Elections (SB 211)
Each political party must notify the secretary of state in writing on or before January 15 of any year in which a partisan general election is to be held whether voters who are unaffiliated with the political party may vote in the party's primary election (open primary) or whether unaffiliated voters must register with the party before voting in the primary (closed primary). [K.S.A. 25-3301]
Precinct Committee Persons (SB 221)
These changes addressed common issues in the election of precinct committee persons.
- The county election officer shall verify the party affiliation of any precinct committee person candidate at the time they file a declaration of intent. [K.S.A. 25-208a(b)]
- No person may be elected as a precinct committee person unless they are a qualified voter, residing in the precinct, and affiliated with the party. [K.S.A. 25-213(d)]
- Precinct committee persons assume office retroactive to the day after the primary election, even though the final vote certification is not until the county canvass (provisional votes, write-in votes, and ties resolved). [K.S.A. 25-3801(a)]
- Precinct committee persons are not required to take an oath. [K.S.A. 25-3801(a)]
- The county chair must provide the name, address, email address, and a mobile phone number for precinct committee persons to the county election officer:
- Each precinct committee person must inform the county election officer within 10 days of any change in name, address, email address and phone numbers. [K.S.A. 25-3801(e)]
- The county election officer shall send to the secretary of state: [K.S.A. 25-3801(f)]
- Within seven days after each primary election a list of each elected precinct committee person’s name, address, phone number and email address.
- All updates of such information.
Ballots (SB 221)
County chairs should now receive a copy of the candidates’ names and residence cities as they will appear on the ballot 50 days before the election so they can suggest corrections. [K.S.A. 25-211]