In a closed primary election, only voters registered with a political party that has qualified for a primary election may vote. They may only vote on ballots for their registered political party.
Over 30% of Kansas voters have registered as unaffiliated with a political party.1 Due to Kansas' closed primary election process, those voters may not participate in the primary election. Technically, Kansas courts have ruled that political parties are able to choose whether unaffiliated voters may participate in their primary elections, but in practice, both major parties conduct closed primaries.2
Kansas has a closed primary election process, meaning that only members of the political party holding the primary may vote.3
Recognized political parties are required to nominate their candidates via primary election, caucus, or convention.4 Only the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian parties are "recognized political party" under the Kansas definition.5 Kansas' primary elections are paid for by the county out of the county general fund.6
Kansas does not have a voter initiative or referendum process.10
Relevant Law to State
Kansas' Constitution defines a qualified elector as, "Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of eighteen years and who resides in the voting area in which he or she seeks to vote shall be deemed a qualified elector."11
II. State Constitution
Kan. Const. B. of R. § 1
Kan. Const. B. of R. § 2
Kan. Const. Art. 5, § 1
Kan. Const. Art. 12, § 5
K.S.A. § 25-120
K.S.A. § 25-202
K.S.A. § 25-301
K.S.A. § 25-303
K.S.A. § 25-3301
K.S.A. § 25-3004
Brown v. Wichita State Univ.,219 Kan. 2, 15 (1976)
Duckworth v. Kansas City, 243 Kan. 386 (1988)
Provance v. Shawnee Mission Unified School District, 231 Kan. 636 (1982)
R.B. Enters., Inc. v. State, 242 Kan. 241 (1987)
Ullrich v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm’rs, 234 Kan. 782 (1984)
Relevant Portion: "Political power; privileges. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and are instituted for their equal protection and benefit. No special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted by the legislature, which may not be altered, revoked or repealed by the same body; and this power shall be exercised by no other tribunal or agency."
Relevant Portion: "Qualifications of electors. Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of eighteen years and who resides in the voting area in which he or she seeks to vote shall be deemed a qualified elector. Laws of this state relating to voting for presidential electors and candidates for the office of president and vice-president of the United States shall comply with the laws of the United States relating thereto. A citizen of the United States, who is otherwise qualified to vote in Kansas for presidential electors and candidates for the offices of president and vice-president of the United States may vote for such officers either in person or by absentee ballot notwithstanding the fact that such person may have become a nonresident of this state if his or her removal from this state occurs during a period in accordance with federal law next preceding such election. A person who is otherwise a qualified elector may vote in the voting area of his or her former residence either in person or by absentee ballot notwithstanding the fact that such person may have become a nonresident of such voting area during a period prescribed by law next preceding the election at which he or she seeks to vote, if his new residence is in another voting area in the state of Kansas."
Relevant Portion: "(b) Cities are hereby empowered to determine their local affairs and government including the levying of taxes, excises, fees, charges and other exactions except when and as the levying of any tax, excise, fee, charge or other exaction is limited or prohibited by enactment of the legislature applicable uniformly to all cities of the same class: Provided, That the legislature may establish not to exceed four classes of cities for the purpose of imposing all such limitations or prohibitions. Cities shall exercise such determination by ordinance passed by the governing body with referendums only in such cases as prescribed by the legislature, subject only to enactments of the legislature of statewide concern applicable uniformly to all cities, to other enactments of the legislature applicable uniformly to all cities, to enactments of the legislature applicable uniformly to all cities of the same class limiting or prohibiting the levying of any tax, excise, fee, charge or other exaction and to enactments of the legislature prescribing limits of indebtedness. All enactments relating to cities now in effect or hereafter enacted and as later amended and until repealed shall govern cities except as cities shall exempt themselves by charter ordinances as here in provided for in subsection (c)."
Relevant Portion: "The expenses of elections in counties not having a county election commissioner shall be paid by the county out of the county general fund, or the board of county commissioners of any such county may levy a tax each year upon the taxable tangible property in the county for the payment of the election expenses, both direct and indirect, of elections for which it is provided by law shall be conducted by the county election officer or the county clerk and to pay a portion of the principal and interest on bonds issued under the authority of K.S.A. 12-1774, and amendments thereto, by cities located in the county. Said levy shall be in addition to all other tax levies authorized or limited by law and shall not be subject to nor within any specific or aggregate tax levy limit prescribed by K.S.A. 79-1947, or acts amendatory thereof."
Relevant Portion: "(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) all candidates for national, state, county and township offices shall be nominated by: (1) A primary election held in accordance with article 2 of chapter 25 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and amendments thereto; or (2) independent nomination petitions signed and filed as provided by existing statutes.
(b) Candidates for any of such offices who are members of any political party whose candidate for governor did not poll at least 5% of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor in the preceding general election shall not be entitled to nomination by primary election but shall be nominated by a delegate or mass convention according to article 3 of chapter 25 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and amendments thereto.
(c) No candidate for any national, state, county or township office shall file for office as a partisan candidate in a primary election and also file for office as an independent candidate for any national, state, county or township office in the general election immediately following.
(d) The provisions of article 2 of chapter 25 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and amendments thereto, shall not apply to the justices of the supreme court or to judges of the district court in judicial districts which have approved the proposition of nonpartisan selection of district court judges, as provided in K.S.A. 20-2901, and amendments thereto, nor to special elections to fill vacancies."
Relevant Portion: "All nominations made by political parties shall be known and designated as 'party nominations,' and the certificates by which such nominations are certified shall be known and designated as 'party certificates of nomination.' Party nominations of candidates for public office can be made only by a delegate or mass convention, primary election or caucus of qualified voters belonging to one political party having a national or state organization."
Relevant Portion: "All nominations other than party nominations shall be independent nominations. No person who has declared and retains a party affiliation in accordance with K.S.A. 25-3301, and amendments thereto, shall be eligible to accept an independent nomination for any office.
Independent nominations of candidates for any office to be filled by the voters of the state at large may be made by nomination petitions signed by not less than 5,000 qualified voters for each candidate and in the case of governor and lieutenant governor for each pair of such candidates."
Relevant Portion: "(a) Each registered voter of this state who has declared a party affiliation as provided in this section or in K.S.A. 25-3304, and amendments thereto, shall be entitled to vote at every partisan primary election.
(b) The county election officer shall prepare for each voting place at each partisan primary election a party affiliation list, duly certified by such officer, which clearly indicates the party affiliation of each registered voter in the voting area who has declared a party affiliation. The registration book prepared for a voting place pursuant to K.S.A. 25-2318, and amendments thereto, may be used as such list, but no registration book prepared for use at a voting place in an election other than a partisan primary election or an election held at the same time as a partisan primary election shall indicate in any manner the party affiliation of any voter. Such list shall be delivered by the supervising judge to the voting place before the opening of the polls.
(c) The party affiliation list provided for by subsection (b) shall be used to determine the party affiliation of a voter offering to vote at a partisan primary election and of a voter applying for an advance voting ballot pursuant to K.S.A. 25-1122, and amendments thereto. If a voter’s party affiliation is not indicated on the party affiliation list, such voter shall state the voter’s party affiliation in writing on a form prescribed by the secretary of state. A judge at the precinct polling place, or the county election officer or such officer’s designee, shall give such voter a primary ballot of the voter’s party affiliation, and such person thereupon shall be entitled to vote. Such a statement of party affiliation shall constitute a declaration of party affiliation, and all such signed statements shall be returned to the county election officer, who shall cause them to be recorded on the party affiliation list.
(d) Party affiliation statements shall be preserved for five years. The county election officer may dispose of the statements in the manner approved for destruction of ballots as provided in K.S.A. 25-2708, and amendments thereto.
(e) The county election officer shall update party affiliation lists as provided by rules and regulations of the secretary of state."
Relevant Portion: "(a) Any person who has declared such person’s party or voter affiliation in the manner provided by law shall be listed on a voter affiliation list as a member of a registered political organization, or on a party affiliation list if a member of a recognized political party, unless the person’s name is purged or removed therefrom as provided by K.S.A. 25-3303, and amendments thereto, or unless the person changes party or voter affiliation as provided in this section.
(b) Any person, who, having declared a party or voter affiliation, desires to change the same, may file a written declaration with the county election officer, stating the change of party or voter affiliation. Such declaration cannot be filed during the time from the candidate filing deadline, as prescribed in K.S.A. 25-205, 25-305 and 25-4004, and amendments thereto, through the time when the primary election results are certified by the secretary of state. The county election officer shall enter a record of such change on the party or voter affiliation list of such preceding primary election in the proper column opposite the voter’s name."
The state legislature may appropriate public money for private individuals so long as the appropriation promotes the public welfare. The wisdom of a particular public policy can not e decided by the courts, but must be decided by the legislature.
Provance v. Shawnee Mission Unified School District, 231 Kan. 636 (1982)
Appellant nonresident voters sought review of the decision of the Johnson District Court, which held that the school closing statute (Kan. Stat. Ann. §72-8136a) was unconstitutional. The court held that the determinative step in an equal protection analysis is to consider whether the particular classification is rationally related to a legitimate state end.
Constitution Party of Kansas v. Briggs, 813 F. Supp. 2d 1274 (2011)
The Kansas Constitution Party was seeking recognition on the ballot as an officially recognized party, and brought suit against the Secretary of State. The court found that the statutory requirements for attaining ballot status (2% of votes) was unquestionably constitutional. The court noted that unrecognized parties are vital to the continuation of a representative government; however, their interests must be balanced with the State's interests in controlling factionalism, avoiding voter confusion, and reducing administrative costs.