NATIONAL NEWS

Kansas likely to keep 3-day grace period for mail ballots

Apr 19, 2023, 4:05 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas appears likely to keep giving voters three days after polls close to return mail ballots to county election officials.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday vetoed a Republican bill to eliminate the grace period. The GOP-controlled Legislature created the grace period in 2017 as U.S. Postal Service mail delivery was slowing down, but many Republicans rethought the policy as baseless election conspiracy theories circulated widely following the 2020 election.

When the bill passed the Legislature, it didn’t have the two-thirds majorities needed to override a veto.

Kelly and other Democrats argued eliminating the grace period would disenfranchise voters, particularly those in rural areas and military personnel serving outside the U.S.

“We should be doing everything we can to make it easier – not harder – for Kansans to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” Kelly said in a statement.

House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, said the bill would have closed an election security “loophole.” There’s no evidence that the grace period has led to fraud.

Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican, said Kelly wants “an endless counting of ballots.” Kansas law requires counties to certify their results the second Monday after an election.

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

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