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Kansas Lawmakers Consider Bill To Change Special Election Process


A hearing was held at the Statehouse Tuesday on a proposed bill that would change the timing of a special election to be held in the event of a vacancy in the 4th Congressional District. Now, the Sedgwick County Election Office is anticipating the next steps.

Currently, Kansas law conflicts with federal law on the timing of a special election to replace a congressman. The federal law requires absentee ballots be sent out 45 days before an election. Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says a legislative fix is needed in order to send out military and overseas ballots within a certain window of time.

Read the legislation here.

"The way the law is written, we wouldn’t know who the candidates are until 35 days before the election, so we obviously could not send ballots if we don’t know who is suppose to be on the ballots," she says. "So we are anticipating changes hopefully passing quickly [and] getting put into law before we have a vacancy created for this special election. "

Lehman says the law would also allow for a Libertarian candidate to get on the ballot, and require an independent to garner fewer signatures to also be included on the ballot. She says if the special election does occur, her office expects to roll out new voting machines.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.