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Kansas GOP Pushes for Changes in Local Elections

Associated Press - February 19, 2014 1:31 pm

A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in September in an appeal that could affect the voting rights of thousands of voters in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama in upcoming elections.

The Kansas Republican Party is pushing legislators to change the dates of local elections and make them partisan, but a GOP-dominated state Senate committee hasn’t embraced the entire plan.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee debated a bill Wednesday that would hold city and school board elections in even-numbered years on the same schedule as legislative and statewide contests. It did not take final action on the measure.

Kansas currently has its city and school board elections in the spring of odd-numbered years, and turnout is typically low. State GOP Chairman Kelly Arnold said moving the elections would boost turnout.

But Senate committee members rewrote the bill so that local elections would remain nonpartisan. Several members said making them partisan would prevent military personnel or federal employees from serving.

City of Salina