Kansas Governor Vetoes Election Reform, Gun Bills

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday vetoed election reform legislation and a bill that would have let more people carry guns.

Kelly, a Democrat, vetoed two bills that would have changed election laws, such as requiring counties to verify signatures on early voting ballots and making it illegal for any person to knowingly alter a postmark on a mail-in ballot.

The bills were House Bill 2183, which the state House passed 80–42 and the state Senate passed 27–11, and House Bill 2332, which the state House passed 83–38 and the state Senate approved 27–11.

Kelly alleged the bills would have suppressed votes.

“Although Kansans have cast millions of ballots over the last decade, there remains no evidence of significant voter fraud in Kansas. This bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is designed to disenfranchise Kansans, making it difficult for them to participate in the democratic process, not to stop voter fraud,” she said in a statement.

“We also know what happens when states enact restrictive voting legislation. Hundreds of major companies across the nation have made it abundantly clear that this kind of legislation is wrong. Antagonizing the very businesses Kansas is trying to recruit is not how we continue to grow our economy.”

Kelly also vetoed another bill that would have let teenagers conceal carry guns if they had a proper permit.

Kelly said she supports the Second Amendment but that the bill would allow more guns on school grounds, which would “drive prospective students away from our schools.”

Other bills Kelly recently rejected included one that would have banned biological males from participating in women’s sports.

Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican, accused Kelly of vetoing the bills “to placate the hard left rather than support mainstream policies supported by most Kansans.”

The election reform bills would have prevented election tampering and limited ballot harvesting while the gun bill would have offered proven gun safety programs in schools, he said in a statement.

“Each of these common-sense measures were passed by strong majorities. Republicans will respond to the governor’s veto-a-rama with a veto-over[r]ide-a-rama when we return in May,” he added.

Republicans currently hold an 84–41 majority in the state’s lower chamber and a 29–11 majority in the state Senate.

To overturn a veto, a two-thirds vote in both chambers is required. If that is achieved, a bill would be enacted into law without the governor’s signature.

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Zachary Stieber
Author: Zachary Stieber

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