TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Republicans in Kansas are pushing to shake up elections in the state, but some of their plans are being stalled.
House Bill 2013 would make Kansas one of less than a handful of states with runoff elections.
The bill says it would require a runoff election between the top two vote-getting candidates for statewide office if no candidate receives a majority of the votes at a general election.
Republican leaders in the House Elections Committee say it won’t make it to the floor this year.
“I don’t think a runoff election is the right mechanism,” said Rep. Pat Proctor, R-Leavenworth.
Proctor, who chairs the committee, says there are parts of the bill that need work before putting it up for debate.
“Challenges with mail-in ballots. The current statute says they have to be out in 45 days before the election, and the runoff is only 30 days or so after the election. I’m not sure that it’s going to make it out of committee this year,” he said.
Some Democrats believe the push comes from last year’s tight race for Kansas governor. Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly narrowly defeated Republican nominee Derek Schmidt with 49.9% of the vote.
“The people of Kansas have spoken. I think the system that is in place allows for both major political parties to participate, but also independents and Libertarians,” Rep. Brandon Woodard, D-Lenexa.
Supporters of the bill say it has been years since a candidate has cracked at least 50% of the vote.
“I think that’s where the concern comes from, and I’ll leave it to the larger body whether it’s a legitimate concern or not. I think it has some weight,” Proctor said.
Lawmakers are also looking at a bill that would require all advance voting ballots to be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Right now, ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.