Local organizers of a drive to put a Texas billionaire's name on the 1992 presidential ballot in Kansas say they are pleased Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan has stepped in to prevent a major foulup that might have rendered a signature drive useless.
In a legal opinion made public on Wednesday, Stephan said the secretary of state's office must provide a way for Ross Perot to change his vice presidential candidate.
``Because Kansas statutes provide for substitution of party nominations for vice president, a procedure must be made available for substitution of independent nominations for vice president,'' Stephan wrote.
Perot has named retired Navy Adm. James B. Stockdale as his interim vice presidential candidate for the purpose of placing Perot's name on election ballots in the 50 states. Perot intends to name another running mate later.
As a result of Stephan's opinion, John R. Wine Jr., attorney for the secretary of state's office, said the office will accept a letter from Perot declaring a replacement vice presidential candidate for Stockdale.
Wine said the office will not require Perot's supporters to file additional petitions with the name of a new vice presidential candidate on them.
Perot's petitions are due by Aug. 3, unless Kansas' Aug. 4 primary election is delayed because reapportionment plans are not approved in time by the courts.
His supporters need 5,000 signatures on petitions to place Perot's name on the Kansas ballot, and say they already have far more than that number.
Steve Klaus, coordinator for the Douglas County petition drive, said he was pleased about the secretary of state's decision.
Klaus said Douglas County Perot supporters met Wednesday night to discuss the situation and decided to continue the county's signature drive, which has netted about 4,000 signatures so far.
The local signature drive will continue Saturday, Sunday and Monday, at Checkers, 23rd and Louisiana, at the intersection of Sixth and Kasold and at a booth set up in the 1100 block of Sixth Street.
He said the petitions containing the signatures will be accepted on the May 29 at a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol.