Kansas Legislation Prohibits Counties from Sending Unsolicited Advance Ballot Applications to Voters

By Trish Svoboda

The Kansas County Clerks and Election Officials Association informed legislators of their opposition to a Republican-sponsored bill that would ban counties from sending unsolicited advance ballot applications.

Harvey County Clerk Rick Piepho, representing the association, said that counties should decide on such matters rather than the state. Senate Bill 366, introduced by Sen. Mike Thompson, aims to require individuals to request advance ballot applications.

In 2020, many county election offices in Kansas mailed thousands of advance ballot applications due to pandemic challenges. Piepho noted the association’s objection to a provision in the bill that would prevent pre-filling advance ballot applications. Thompson argued for legislative intervention, citing an instance where Johnson County election commissioner Fred Sherman sent unrequested advance ballot applications, resulting in printing and delivery costs of $130,000 being covered by taxpayers.

Thompson’s bill stops county election officials from mailing advance voting applications unless requested by a voter, effective July 1, and restricts officials from completing certain sections of the applications. The legislation also reduces the font size of sender identification on advance voting mailers.

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