SB 292 – 2021 Session – Explained and Discussed
Summary: The bill seeks to limit the quantity of ballots any given person can deliver to a ballot drop box or polling place. Violation of the five-ballot-delivery limit will result in a Level 9 Nonperson felony which can receive anywhere from a 7 to an 11 month sentence.
The basic tenants of the bill:
- Each ballot must be signed by the voter and person who will be delivering the ballot.
- Voter must agree to the following conditions:
- The named person has been authorized to deliver the ballot
- Named person or any other persons exerted no undue influence on voter
- Named person had not delivered more than five advanced voting ballots
- Ballot must be delivered to county election officer by the closing of polls.
- Voters with illness, lack of English reading proficiency, or physical disability preventing personal signatures on the ballot will be allowed to designate someone to mark the ballot after submitting a request.
This bill may indirectly limit older individuals and disabled persons’ voting access. It specifically targets mail-in and advanced voting. Statistically, advanced voters are more likely to reside in an urban area and cast their ballots for democrats, so the recent movement with this bill has raised some concerns about impartiality. This is just a small part of a series of bills by the Kansas State Congress to suppress the vote. After the 2020 election, Kansas joined 43 other states in creating laws that impede virtual voting and increase voter suppression. Even with a pandemic looming over the election, 2020 saw the largest voter turnout, 73% of the electorate, in U.S. history. The quarantine measures and emphasis on social distancing changed how voters approach civic engagement. This new proposal forces constituents to question whether the intent serves to enable voter participation or is a disservice to democracy at large.
Chamber Introduced: Senate – March 11, 2021
Committee: Federal and State Affairs (Senate) – March 12, 2021
Hearing: Senate – March 16, 2021