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Archive for Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Objection Board rejects challenge by gay rights group that sought to remove legislator from ballot

June 19, 2012

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— State officials on Tuesday rejected a challenge by a gay rights group that opposed the candidacy of a legislator who said she moved to a church to establish residency in a House district.

The State Objection Board, made up of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all Republicans, also rejected the appeal of a Democratic state House candidate whose filing paperwork was lost.

The Objection Board held a marathon session to decide 10 ballot disputes in the wake of court-ordered redistricting on June 7 that shook the Kansas political landscape, sending dozens of candidates scurrying to file for office by the June 11 deadline.

At least six incumbent legislators who had been drawn out of their districts moved to run in the Aug. 7 primaries.

One of those was Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson. She had represented the 102nd District for two decades, but the new map put her house in the 104th District.

So, she and her husband, Ron, moved to a vacant church in the 102nd that they had bought in 2003. She said they are renovating it to live there.

But Thomas Witt, executive director of the Kansas Equality Coalition, filed a challenge, alleging that the vacant church was not a residence under city of Hutchinson ordinances, and therefore Pauls could not claim it as her legal residence.

“This is not a home. This is a church,” said Witt, who has often criticized Pauls for her opposition to gay rights. The pews are still in the church, Witt noted.

He said Pauls was “carpetbagging,” and he told the board that if they allow it, any time a person throws a sleeping bag on the floor of a gasoline station, tavern or a vacant lot, they could claim that as their residence for candidacy purposes.

Pauls said she is in the process of moving from her other home into the church and had spent four or five nights at the church since June 11.

“It has always been our intention to move into the church,” she said.

The board members voted, 3-0, for Pauls and against Witt’s challenge.

Kobach said Pauls’ intent was clear when she changed her voter registration to the church address. Schmidt said no one from the city of Hutchinson had verified if, in fact, Pauls was living in the church illegally. Colyer said he didn’t have a problem with what Pauls had done.

The board also voted against a challenge from Democrat Larry Meeker, who decided to run in House District 17 but was declared invalid by the Secretary of State’s office.

On June 11, Meeker, former mayor of Lake Quivira, and a number of other Democrats signed their declarations of candidacies at the Johnson County Courthouse, and then Tyler Longpine, who works for House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, took the forms to Topeka to file the paperwork and pay the fees at the Secretary of State’s office just moments before the deadline.

The final hours of filing were chaotic, and somehow Meeker’s paperwork was lost and his candidacy wasn’t recorded.

Longpine swore he handed in Meeker’s required papers, but Kobach’s employees said they checked numerous times and couldn’t find them.

“This is the case of the missing form,” Kobach said.

Schmidt said the court-ordered redistricting and short period before the filing deadline led to problems. “This is a confused circumstance at the time of filing,” he said.

But board members indicated they were uncomfortable allowing a person on the ballot without a filing document or fee. Kobach abstained from the vote, but Schmidt and Colyer voted against Meeker.

Meeker said he is exploring his options. He could run a write-in campaign during the primary to get the Democratic nomination, or he could run as an independent in the November election.

Earlier, the Objection Board refused to reconsider a decision by Kobach to reassign more than 80 legislative candidates to the correct districts after the legislative boundaries were redrawn by the court.

Comments

Catalano 2 years, 6 months ago

It seems like it would be a whole lot easier for Meeker to be a write-in candidate in the primary instead of having to go through all the machinations of getting enough signatures to be on the general ballot in November. Scott...is there a rule/law/whatever that says how many write-in votes someone needs in a primary?

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

"The State Objection Board, made up of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all Republicans . . . refused to reconsider a decision by Kobach to reassign more than 80 legislative candidates to the correct districts after the legislative boundaries were redrawn by the court."

Is it just me or is there really a slight conflict of interest here?

parrothead8 2 years, 6 months ago

Kris Kobach would like to inform you that there is no conflict of interest in this matter. Please keep your head buried in the sand and trust that Kobach and Brownback have your best interests in mind.

Mike1949 2 years, 6 months ago

That's not funny though it did bring out a smile. People here in Kansas has brought all this on themselves!

somedude20 2 years, 6 months ago

By living with morons, yes, but I didn't vote for these pukes

billbodiggens 2 years, 6 months ago

Keep your head buried in the sand, but keep your picture ID in your back pocket so that it might be easily plucked and examined by any passing State official.

grammarrodeo 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't have the law in front of me but I believe a write-in candidate needs 5 votes to be counted as a candidate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 6 months ago

Kobach's office screwed up, which is the same as saying he screwed up, in filing Meeker's papers. And instead of doing the right thing, he essentially rubber-stamped his screwup because it's to the advantage of his own party.

What an (expletive pre-deleted!!!)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 6 months ago

My guess is that it was the office that lost the app and the fee, but not necessarily intentionally-- they had quite a crush of them that day, and not just those from Longpine.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Kobach lied. He said he would accept the court decision. He lied. Kobach cannot be trusted!

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 6 months ago

I've been wondering why Longpine didn't get a receipt for Meeker's filing fee payment when he filed for him. If he'd done so, I would think there'd be no issue, regardless of whether or not the actual paperwork were lost.

And it shouldn't matter if he were turning in the paperwork at the last minute. He still should have been given a receipt for handing over $$. Were earlier candidates given receipts???

verity 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes, there are some big gaps in this story and the answers are important to us as voters.

I do think that because of all the confusion, since the intention was there and what happened was not the fault of Mr Meeker that some leeway could have been given.

LJW---put somebody on this please!

oldexbeat 2 years, 6 months ago

Why is this happening in Kansas ? Brownback / and crew needed some place where science and reading are optional. They bought it cheap. Go Kochsan/Brownbackistan. Lost papers ? No place for losers here....

asixbury 2 years, 6 months ago

Hetero's can marry whom they love, though, but gays cannot. That is right they do not have.

asixbury 2 years, 6 months ago

Therein lies the problem. Gays are discriminated against because they cannot live a life that is natural to them. They love someone of their own sex, yet cannot marry them. Heteros can marry the person they love, since it is of a different sex. That is clear discrimination in every since of the word.

asixbury 2 years, 6 months ago

You are being willfully ignorant. You are the one that does not know what discrimination is. What is your objection to gay marriage? Let me guess, your religion, which has no place in the laws of our government.

Joseph Jarvis 2 years, 6 months ago

@Gotland: By your logic, anti-miscegenation laws aren't discriminatory because blacks and whites are equally prohibited from marrying outside their race. That line of argument was considered and rejected decades ago in Loving v. Virginia.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes they are, and I support legalizing polygamy, and group marriages, as long as they involve consenting adults.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes they are, and I support legalizing polygamy, polyandry, and group marriages, as long as they involve consenting adults.

DeckDoctors 2 years, 6 months ago

democrats protesting 'carpetbagging'? Oh you mean like Troy Finley and Paul Davis? Hypocrites all...

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