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KS Bill Blocks Party Changes Before Primaries

Vote by SK(Photo by Stephen Koranda)A Kansas Senate committee is considering a bill that would stop people from switching political parties in the final weeks before a primary election. The bill is designed to prevent people from changing their party affiliations between June 1 and September 1. Clay Barker, with the Kansas Republican Party, testified in favor of the bill today. He says it will help prevent people from switching parties to meddle in another party’s primary.


Some lawmakers questioned how common it actually is for people to switch parties to vote in a primary. The Mainstream Coalition, a non-partisan group, says primary elections can be the de facto general elections in some areas and the bill would block people from affiliating with the party of their choice.

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(VERSION TWO)

A Kansas Senate committee is considering a bill aimed at preventing people from switching party affiliation in the final weeks before a primary election. The committee took testimony on the legislation yesterday (WED). KPR’s Stephen Koranda was there and has this report.


(SCRIPT)

Under the current rules in Kansas, you can switch your voter registration from one party to another up to a few weeks before the primary election. This bill would push that deadline so it’s about two months before a primary. Clay Barker, with the Kansas Republican Party, testified in favor of the bill. He says there have been efforts to get Democrats to switch and vote in Republican primaries.

“The primary is the party’s mechanism for selecting its candidate, its ambassador to the public, and the true party members, the people that believe in its core philosophy, should be the ones who vote or participate in that selection process,” says Barker.

But some lawmakers questioned how many voters actually do switch party to vote in a primary. The Mainstream Coalition, a non-partisan advocacy organization, says primaries can be the de-facto general election in some areas. The group argues this bill would restrict the ability of voters to choose their leaders and affiliate with the political party of their choice.

 

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