County Clerks in Kansas made heroic efforts to ensure our communities had safe and secure voting elections in 2020, and they were extremely successful. There’s currently a new slate of voter suppression bills in the Kansas legislature that add no new protections to our elections and make election administration more difficult, in fact without them almost 32,000 votes would not have counted in the last election.
Please call our Riley County elected officials and tell them to stop the suppression and vote NO on ALL election overhaul bills. THEN contact friends and family throughout Kansas and encourage them to contact their local legislators. An example letter/email and phone call/text are provided at the links below.
Riley County Senators
Senator Tom Hawk; 785-296-7360; Tom.Hawk@senate.ks.gov
Riley County Representatives
Rep. Sydney Carlin; 785 296-7657; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Dodson; 785 296-7402; email@example.com
Rep. Suzi Carlson; 785 296-7654; Suzi.Carlson@house.ks.gov
We are also encouraging letters to local news outlets.
The Manhattan Mercury; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Riley Countian; email@example.com
Background The Senate introduced a brand new bill (SB307) the evening of March 25th and scheduled a hearing in the Fed and State Committee the following day with 0 business hours of public notice. Also on March 25th, the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee amended and combined several bills resulting in Senate Substitute for House Bill 2332 and Senate Substitute for House Bill 2183.
These bills passed out of committee and are likely to be voted on the Senate floor the week of the 29th and go to conference committee the week of April 5th. The legislature takes it’s April break starting on the 9th.
#1 Concern for Voting Rights SB307 [A much more extreme version of HB2319]
Reduces the time for mail ballots to arrive at the county election office from 3 days to 0 days. All ballots would have to be at the county election office by 7pm Election Day regardless of when they were mailed and postmarked.
Removes the Secretary of State’s ability to permit extra time for mail ballots to arrive in cases of emergency.
Prevents any elected official or court from extending the deadline for mail ballots to arrive.
Prevents mail ballots from being turned in at poll sites on Election Day (this appears to be unintentional language, but as written it requires mail ballots to be at the county election office by 7pm. At 7pm ballots would still be at poll sites.)
#2 Concern for Voting Rights S Sub HB2183 [Removed 2183, Now includes SB11, SB35, SB292, SB293]
Reduces the number of days before an election that mail ballots may begin being mailed out from 20 to 15 days. [Added into SB11 – would increase the likelihood that a voter does not have time to receive their ballot, fill it out, and return it.]
Makes it a felony to help more than 5 people return their mail ballot [Originally SB292 – criminalizes the act of assisting voters, impacts group living situations especially elderly and disabled]
Candidates may only assist their direct family with any election process [Added as amendment – prevents individuals with disabilities from being assisted by the person of their choice]
Removing SoS emergency time extension for mail ballots
Makes it a felony for election offices to receive grants or any indirect financial support for elections [Originally SB283 – limits funding opportunities for underfunded local offices and may have broad unknown implications]
#3 Concern for Voting Rights S Sub HB2332 [Now includes HB2332, HB2339, HB2183]
Creates strict requirements on mailing applications for advance ballots including not allowing any portion to be pre-filled out and unclear restrictions on who can send out such mailers [Originally HB2332]
Expands the definition of election tampering [Originally HB2339 – unlikely to impact anything]
Blocks the executive and judicial branches from “modifying” election laws [Originally HB2183 – potentially unconstitutional encroachment on executive/judiciary]