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Group Using Open Records Act To Hunt Names Of Judicial Candidates

The head of the League of Women Voters of Kansas is hoping that seeing the governor's schedule could reveal the names of candidates for an open court seat. The league has filed an open records request for the calendars of Gov. Sam Brownback and some of his staff.

There's disagreement over whether the names of candidates for the Kansas Court of Appeals should be released. Under a previous system, the names of the candidates were public.

Under a new system, the governor chooses candidates for open seats on the Court of Appeals, and the governor’s choice must then be confirmed by the state Senate. This week Brownback chose his office’s top attorney, Caleb Stegall, for the job. Brownback says some people are hesitant to apply if the names are public.

“Because of its impact on them personally if they don’t get it if their names are revealed," says Brownback. "So you limit your pool of applicants.”

But the League of Women Voters says it’s about keeping the process open. Dolores Furtado is a former Democratic state representative who is now with the league.

“People should be able to have confidence in government knowing that when there are selected individuals to a major appointment that the process is transparent,” she says.

A previous request was rejected, with the governor’s office saying the names of candidates don’t fall under the Open Records Act.