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Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kansas GOP pushes for legislation aimed at reducing party switching

March 5, 2014

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— The Kansas Republican Party on Wednesday pushed for passage of a bill aimed at reducing the number of voters who switch parties before the primary to hurt the GOP.

The bill would essentially prevent registered voters from changing their party affiliation from June 1 through Sept. 1. Currently, voters registered as Republicans, Democrats or Libertarian can change their party affiliation up to 21 days before the August primaries. Unaffiliated voters can declare a party affiliation at any time.

Clay Barker, executive director of the state Republican Party, said the primary election belongs to the political party, not the general public, and is the party's mechanism to select its candidates.

Barker said he believed third-party groups were urging voters to switch parties to advance an inferior candidate who would then face the opposition party's candidate in the general election.

But neither Barker, nor state Rep. Keith Esau, R-Olathe, the main supporters of House Bill 2210, could provide examples of party-switching occurring as part of political gamesmanship.

Esau told members of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that he has heard about it mostly from posts on Facebook urging people to switch parties to affect the primary.

"We don't have any specific data," Esau said.

Topeka resident Jack Sossoman submitted written testimony in which he said he believed Democrats changed their party registration to Republican to help state Sen. Vickie Schmidt, R-Topeka, defeat Joe Patton in the August 2012 GOP primary. Schmidt won by less than 200 votes out of more than 11,000 cast, and then easily won the general election.

"Democrat voters crossed over to vote for the moderate Republican in the primary because they knew that in the highly Republican District 20 of Kansas, they could not elect a Democrat in the general election, and they would much rather have a moderate Republican with views aligned more towards those the Democrat Party," he said.

But state Sen. Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village, said she had not heard of any widespread voter registration switching.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach supports the bill, saying it would reduce the administrative burden on county election officers who must maintain records of the registration changes.

But the Mainstream Coalition, a non-partisan advocacy group that supports separation of church and state and increased funding of public schools, opposed the measure, saying it would restrict the ability of voters to affiliate with the party of their choice.

Mark Dugan, a member of the coalition, said many voters simply want to vote for the best candidate, regardless of political party.

"For these conscientious voters, any restriction on the ability to choose party affiliation is a restriction on the ability to choose their leaders," he said.

Comments

Chris Bohling 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Typical Kobachian move. Distract from the real issues by proposing to fix a nonexistent problem.

Anyway, anyone who actually wants to manipulate the primary should just register Republican and stay Republican. The Democrats in Kansas will never be able to nominate anyone other than moderates because of the political climate, so only the Republican primary actually matters. So why bother registering as anything other than a Republican?

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MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Exactly.

That's why I haven't switched back to Democrat since I switched in 2012 to vote in their primaries. I intend to vote in every one of their primaries for the most moderate candidates I can find. I know others who're doing the same thing. At least we're not taking their dirty tricks without fighting dirt for dirt.

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Terry Thatcher 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Barker said he believed third-party groups were urging voters to switch parties to advance an inferior candidate who would then face the opposition party's candidate in the general election.

But neither Barker, nor state Rep. Keith Esau, R-Olathe, the main supporters of House Bill 2210, could provide examples of party-switching occurring as part of political gamesmanship.

Esau told members of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that he has heard about it mostly from posts on Facebook urging people to switch parties to affect the primary.

"We don't have any specific data," Esau said.

This is all you need to know. Disgusting, lying republicans. Filth that should be driven from this state.

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Leslie Swearingen 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh, Terry, hyperbole much? Sounds to me like someone needs a time out.

0

Terry Thatcher 6 months, 1 week ago

That's such an incredibly thoughtful response, Leslie. Care to refute anything I said? Anything?

Yeah, didn't think so.

3

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 1 week ago

I'm curious. Leslie's name does not show up on my screen - just her avatar. I figured she didn't have to show a name, somehow, but you are seeing it, apparently. Everyone else on this board has a name after the avatar, but "Leslie" does not on my screen. Very strange.

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Kevin Millikan 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Kris, that's what those people do, maintain records..that's why it's in their job description. So if you can't keep your people, don't let them leave?

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Greg Cooper 6 months, 2 weeks ago

For crying out loud, what kind of idiocy is this?

The Constitution preserves the right to vote. It does not say anything about political parties. Ergo, what kind of law can one make limiting the right to vote as one pleases? Jeez, Repubs, has it gotten to the point that you guys really, really believe you can manipulate the system so blatantly? Or that, given that not everyone votes for you, you decide to not let them vote as they please at all?

Obviously, the power of the voter means something to you only when the voter votes against you. Nice. But not reality.

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MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Politics is a dirty job and it takes dirty people to do the job.

1

Leslie Swearingen 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Seriously, people, what is going on here? Days like this make me glad I have my Brita filter.

Why are you all in such a bad mood? Politics is not "dirty" and I would most sincerely hope that people will not feel justified in behaving badly because they think others are.

0

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 1 week ago

Leslie, you're living in a Pollyanna world if you don't see the dirtiness in our politics, anymore.

1

James Howlette 6 months, 2 weeks ago

So the complaint (without any sort of proof or examples) is that democrats are voting in republican primaries for a candidate that they find more palatable? It's not that they're deliberately voting for someone they think will lose the general election? Why, how undemocratic of them. Or something.

4

Julius Nolan 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The only reason for this bill is to keep any possible intelligent people from voting for any possible non-nutcase. Assuming there is such a sensible GOP politician.

4

Larry Sturm 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Another trying to break something that's not broken.

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Phillip Chappuie 6 months, 2 weeks ago

So Kobach is concerned about the administrative burden to the county clerks office? But his suggestion to maintain separate state and federal registrations and make people jump through a bunch of useless hoops to vote is perfectly alright? Why is the Party of less government continuing to intrude into our lives and steal away our freedoms?

10

Steve Jacob 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I switched parties just to vote for Jerry Moran over Todd Tiahrt. (And the luxury of being able to vote against Brownback twice). It's my right. I never bothered to switch back, because lets face it, what's the point voting in a Democratic primary in Kansas?

I would vote for tea party candidate Milton Wolf over Pat Roberts but the Democrats don't really have a legitimate candidate yet.

4

Chris Golledge 6 months, 2 weeks ago

But what if my sincerely held religious beliefs compel me to change parties?

4

James Howlette 6 months, 2 weeks ago

As long as your only reason is to deny someone birth control or break up a possible gay marriage...

1

MerriAnnie Smith 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I believe they will pass this bill. Vote blocking has been one of the Republican Party's mainstays of late.

One reason is that they know, on a country wide level, the Republican Party is going down because of their far right stance and the way they've obstructed our government's business for five years in blatantly hateful and damaging ways.

They know that they've lost a lot of women by waging all kinds of dirty wars on them; they can't get the gay vote, the black vote, nor the Hispanic vote. They're a pitiful lot with their hatred leading the way for their far right, and their greed leading the way with their wealthy members.

If they can't win in an upright and honest way, they'll block votes and pull any number of other dirty tricks.

They should just admit it. They are the ones waging war on this country. We are the ones who're taking them on within their own party.

I hope more Democrats and Independents will hurry up and switch now before they push this hateful bill through so they can try to bring the party back to a moderate place before November.

Let's do it! It can't hurt to try.

6

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Typical of the Koch Regime Kansas Government

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William Weissbeck 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This is likely some sort of model legislation from ALEC related groups, but Kansas GOPs are too stupid to realize that it has little relevance to the GOP here. If anything, it's the Democrats that could be overwhelmed by cross overs nominating a "LaRouchie" on their ballots. What the GOP should fear are the sane party voters showing up.

2

Richard Heckler 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This is BIG GOVERNMENT hard at work. Once again proving themselves as liars about being concerned about BIG GOVERNMENT. The Kansas GOP and Governor are the epitome of BIG GOVERNMENT.

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