Sep 19, 2014 6:58 PM
Some Kansas ballots to have no Democrat for Senate
The Associated Press
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Kansas will start sending voters living overseas a ballot for the November election with no Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate race that has unexpectedly become one of the most hotly-contested in the nation.
But Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Friday he is not abandoning efforts to get Democrats to name a replacement candidate for Chad Taylor. The Democrat dropped out of the race earlier this month, giving independent Greg Orman a better shot at defeating three-term Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts.
The race in Kansas has vaulted to the top tier in the national fight over control of the Senate after Roberts emerged vulnerable from a nasty primary in August. While Kansas is a Republican-leaning state, Orman is leading or close behind the 78-year-old Roberts in some recent opinion polls. Republicans want a Democrat on the ballot to split the anti-Roberts vote.
Kobach, a conservative Republican backing Roberts, directed county election officials to mail or email about 500 ballots overseas by Saturday to comply with a federal deadline. But each ballot will come with a disclaimer, telling voters they may get a second ballot later if Democrats name a new candidate.
The dispute over the Kansas ballot erupted after Taylor stopped campaigning earlier this month and sent a letter to Kobach's office to withdraw. Kobach said the letter wasn't detailed enough to comply with state law, but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that it was sufficient and ordered Taylor's name removed.
Kobach then declared that Democrats are required under Kansas law to pick a new candidate and said he'd delay the mailing of overseas ballots to allow them to name the nominee. But Friday he said it would be "most prudent" to send the mail ballots to overseas voters immediately.
The disclaimer says that if Democrats pick a new candidate, each voter will receive a second ballot, and only the second will count. Those voters will also be able to submit their ballots after the Nov. 4 election.
Kobach noted that most of the state's 800,000 to a 1 million ballots won't be printed until later.