The Gardner City Council adopted an ordinance regulating mailed ballot solicitations during a 15 minute meeting Dec. 20.
Sec. 7.5. Distribution of Unattributed Applications for Advance Voting Ballots regulates font size on mail labels, addressing and how much of an advance voting application may be completed prior to mailing. Those found to be in violation of the ordinance are found guilty of a class C nonperson violation.
Elections and postal enforcement are under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Secretary of State’s office or United States Postal Service. Questions regarding how Gardner officials would inspect mail, regulate label font size, organization’s executive officer or return addresses were not clear.
“Admittedly, I do not know the answers to those questions,” said Todd Winters, mayor. “However, I felt comfortable as part of the UPOC and upon review from Judge Lewis, city Prosecutor Repp, and city attorney Denk to move forward with approval.”
Due to the holidays, an official spokesman for the Kansas Secretary of State’s office was not available for comment; however, a staff member said he had not heard of any other municipality approving such an ordinance nor did he understand how the city could establish a class c felony or have jurisdiction.
He said the city’s ordinance appeared to roughly copy a portion of House Bill 2332 that was approved in 2021 and becomes law Jan. 1, 2022.
Wording for Gardner’s ordinance as added Dec. 20 is:
Sec. 7.5. Distribution of Unattributed Applications for Advance Voting Ballots. (a) (1) Any person who solicits by mail a registered voter to file an application for an advance voting ballot and includes an application for an advance voting ballot in such mailing shall include on the exterior of such mailing, and on each page contained therein, except the application, a clear and conspicuous label in 14-point font or larger that includes: (A) The name of the individual or organization that caused such solicitation to be mailed; (B) if an organization, the name of the president, chief executive officer or executive director of such organization; (C) the address of such individual or organization; and (D) the following statement: “Disclosure: This is not a government mailing. It is from a private individual or organization.” (2) The application for an advance voting ballot included in such mailing shall be the official application for advance ballot by mail provided by the secretary of state. No portion of such application shall be completed prior to mailing such application to the registered voter (3) An application for an advance voting ballot shall include an envelope addressed to the appropriate county election office for the mailing of such application. In no case shall the person who mails the application to the voter direct that the completed application be returned to such person. (4) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to: (A) The secretary of state or any election official or county election office; or 88 (B) the official protection and advocacy for voting access agency for this state as designated pursuant to the federal help America vote act of 2002, public law 107-252, or any other entity required to provide information concerning elections and voting procedures by federal law (5) A violation of this subsection is a class C nonperson Violation. (K.S.A. 25-1122).
Due to the holidays, the ACLU did not provide a comment.