Should the state's primary be changed to a later date?
I am open to exploring the option of changing the primary date. As we have seen from this year's record low turnout, the first week in August may not be the most optimal for many Kansans. Without a specific date in mind, I plan to begin looking at the possibility of moving our state's primary in the coming months. It is important that we do all we can to make voting as convenient as possible.
Absolutely -- People do not want more politics intruding on their lives, they want less. To accomplish this task would take a global repair. Start by moving the deadline to file to July 10, make the primary the second Tuesday in September, then the general election in November. By doing this you have created roughly two eight week sections that candidates will campaign, giving the candidate less time to alienate the voters with ugly, mudslinging campaigns.
The Haley Campaign for Secretary of State has recommended for the last four years that Kansas investigate which time of year and proximity to the general election date might yield the best possibility of greater voter participation. Statistically, there are "trade-offs" between an earlier or later primary date and we should first evaluate which date, or even day of the week, might be most advantageous to participation. As a Senator and as a Representative, I have been the Legislature's most vocal advocate for a Kansas Presidential Primary, as well.
What steps should the state take to upgrade its technology to speed election reporting?
During the last election, my office received results from nearly every Kansas County before 10 p.m., including larger counties like Douglas and Johnson. Our current technology allows election night returns to be transmitted to our office in a number of different, more rapid means. However, when you make speed your primary goal, you sacrifice security. The integrity of our results will always be my top priority as your Secretary of State.
With 105 counties not all on the same page in management or funding this will be more of a challenge -- I hesitate to declare a statewide mandate that cannot take all the counties and their specific challenges into consideration. The reporting can however, be done securely with VPN's (Virtual Private Networks) this requires that each county have internet access, obviously the faster the connection (broadband vs. dial-up) the faster the transfer of data.
We have the technology to report timely and accurately now. Under the incumbent, Kansas apparently lacks the will to do so. As Secretary, I pledge each County will produce a preliminary "total" count of all ballots ( Advance, Absentee, Election Day Machine and Provisional ) within forty-eight (48) hours of the closing of the last poll on election day. It is senseless and cruel to drag out an indeterminate count, as we just witnessed once again in Kansas during the August primary, where no accurate number of provisional ballots was publically known prior to certification of the election; a full week after the election.
What should be done to make sure that voters have easy access to the polls, and their votes count?
During my time in office, I have fought to give all Kansans, regardless of ability, the greatest access to the ballot without compromising the integrity of the system. I am proud to say that Kansas is setting the national standard for secure, accessible elections. I believe in the power of the ballot and, upon re-election, will continue to work to ensure that every vote cast is a valid one.
The incumbent has done more to seperate voters from access to the polls than any other Secretary of State in Kansas history. Today, voter advocacy groups including the League of Women Voters in Sedgwick ( Wichita ) ; Wyandotte ( Kansas City ) and Geary ( Junction City ) among others are contemplating a class action lawsuit to combat this disenfranchisement and criminal damage that the incumbent Secretary has done to our democracy by consolidating precincts in "fragile voter" areas; causing people, especially the elderly, to have to travel farther to cast their vote on Election day. As Secretary, I must first reverse the damage done by this poll "scattering" and work hard to restore voter interest and participation.
The voters today have easy access to the polls via the advance ballot is there anything simpler than voting from home? I think not. Voting from home via a paper ballot gives you a verifiable paper trail and is eminently recountable.