Each week during the 2023 Kansas legislative session, we will provide Shawnee area lawmakers with an opportunity to share their thoughts on what is happening in the state capital.
Below is this week’s presentation by Democratic Rep. Cindy Neighbor of Kansas House District 18 in Shawnee and Merriam.
Republican Representative Carl Turner also had a chance to feature a column this week.
The views expressed in each Capitol Update are those of the legislator only.
I want to wish you all a happy and healthy new year. As you all know, the Legislature has been in session for the past three weeks. If you’ve kept up with the news or listened to committee meetings online, you know there are a lot of interesting proposals coming our way.
Last week, we introduced election bills that appear to disenfranchise voters.
We heard from the secretary of state how the elections were held in November in the state of Kansas. There were no issues that were brought forward during that time. In fact, Kansas has one of the most secure electoral systems in the United States. We should be very proud of it!
We also toured the Johnson County Election Office and the Shawnee County Election Office. While they do a couple of different things in Shawnee County, the same protections are in place at both offices. Many of the committee members were surprised by the depth of protection that was in place.
One of the bills introduced in our committee was the 2013 House Bill which states that if a candidate for statewide office does not receive a majority of votes in a general election, a runoff will be held between the two candidates who win. the most votes.
This would cover candidates running for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and insurance commissioner. This bill does nothing to build confidence in elections. It will cost taxpayers millions of dollars alone. I believe we can use those dollars for other areas like mental health and education. There is also a question of the bill’s legality.
Another bill introduced is House Bill 2056, which would require all early votes to be returned by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. This bill was presented to us last year and it did not pass.
I hope that at a time when the integrity of our elections is under attack, we can collectively work together in the Legislature to move forward bills that encourage citizen participation.