Politics & Government

Gov. Brownback to sign bills for secretary of state prosecutorial power, election changes

Gov. Sam Brownback plans to sign two bills Monday regarding voting in Kansas.

One will give Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his successors power to prosecute alleged voter fraud in criminal court.

The other will move local elections to the fall.

Senate Bill 34 grants Kobach power to bring cases against alleged illegal voters when local prosecutors don’t. It also will allow the attorney general to overrule a local prosecutor’s decision not to file criminal charges in election cases.

House Bill 2104 will make several changes to election law. It moves city and school board elections to the fall of odd-numbered years, but keeps them non-partisan.

The intent is to increase voter turnout in such elections. The change has been largely opposed by local elected officials and school boards across the state.

The bill will also eliminate the presidential primary.

And it addresses a controversy from the 2014 U.S. Senate election by changing the requirements for a candidate to withdraw from a race after winning the primary. Candidates will be able to withdraw only if they die, move out of the state or if they or a member of their immediate family suffers from a medical hardship.