Kansas Senate bill could remove option for extending advance ballot voting deadline

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)— A proposed law would remove the option for extending the deadline to receive advance ballots in Kansas.

Right now, ballots must be postmarked by election day in Kansas. But, they only count if they arrive at the county election office within three days after the election.

The current law also allows the Secretary of State’s office to extend the deadline. Lawmakers held a senate committee hearing Thursday for a new bill, Senate Bill 35, that would remove this option.

However, some lawmakers fear it’s an act of voter suppression, explaining that the chance for delays with the U.S. postal service prior to election day could be an issue where the extension is needed.

“If the post office takes longer than 3 days to get that ballot back, then that voters wishes are not even heard,” said Sen. Mary Ware, D-Wichita. “There would be no way, even in an emergency, to extend those three days. This bill would eliminate that flexibility.”

However, supporters of the bill say three days should be enough time for the advance ballots to come in, making the option for an extension unnecessary.

“I support Senate Bill 35 and believe there should be an ending point insight,” said Sen. Rick Kloos, R-Berryton, “Three days after an election should be an adequate cut off date with all of the opportunity for mail in ballots and advance voting.”

Kloos said amendments could still be coming and considered, as no action has been taken on the bill yet.

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