Opinion Columns & Blogs

Update state law on special elections

It’s not every decade that Kansas holds a special election to replace a member of the U.S. House – which is probably why the deadlines for doing so don’t make much sense and need to be adjusted. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, will likely be confirmed as Donald Tump’s CIA director. When that happens and Pompeo resigns his congressional seat, Gov. Sam Brownback will have five days to call a special election that would take place between 45 and 60 days later. The problem with that timetable is that the political parties can’t nominate someone for the race until 25 days after the election is called by the governor. At most, that would leave election officials only 35 days to prepare for the election – and state and federal law requires military or overseas ballots be mailed out 45 days before an election. The short deadline also likely doesn’t give independent candidates enough time to get the petition signatures required to qualify to be on the ballot. The state law on special elections hasn’t changed since 1969. It needs an update. – Phillip Brownlee