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After delay, ruling allows counties to print ballots

Staff writer

A ruling handed down by the Shawnee County District Court has allowed for county offices statewide to submit finished election ballots for printing, for which the normal deadline is Sept. 15.

“We’ve been waiting quite a while for this ruling to come out,” Marion County Clerk Tina Spencer said.

The court ruled in the case of David Orel vs. Kansas Democratic Party that the Democrats don’t need to replace Chad Taylor’s place on the ballot. Taylor withdrew from the United States Senate race against incumbent Republican Pat Roberts on Sept. 4; the withdrawal was contested by the Republican Party, who saw it as a move to clear the way for Democratic support behind independent candidate Greg Orman.

It wasn’t until Sept. 18 that Taylor’s withdrawal was approved by the courts, and the ruling that no replacement would be needed wasn’t made until Oct. 1.

Spencer said the ballots are printed and delivered 10-14 days after submission — in other words, the county office would normally have them by now.

Counties can allow early voting to begin Oct. 15, which Spencer said is a goal for Marion, and must begin by Oct. 28. There’s a chance, however, that the printed ballots won’t be returned to the county by Oct. 15, meaning the county would have to delay its early voting.

“This affects every county,” Spencer said. “Everyone’s trying to come up with contingency plans.”

Federal and overseas ballots were supposed to be sent out by Sept. 20. Spencer said the clerk’s office didn’t receive any applications for federal or overseas voting this year, but other counties were affected.

Counties may print ballots themselves, which then have to be hand counted on election night, making for a longer election night process for the clerk’s office.

Spencer said the delays are not likely to affect Election Day voters. Election Day is Nov. 4.

“As long as we get our ballots, we should be good,” Spencer said.

Last modified Oct. 9, 2014

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