Kobach Surrenders: Ballots Will Be Printed With No Dem Senate Nominee

Charlie Riedel/AP

After a Kansas district court ruled on Wednesday that the Kansas Democratic Party did not have to name a new Senate nominee, it seems that Secretary of State Kris Kobach effectively threw in the towel in his bid to force Democrats to put somebody on the ballot in the November.

Kobach’s office sent an order to local election officials Wednesday after the ruling instructing them to prepare and print ballots with no Democratic nominee.

“There will be no Democratic candidate on the ballot,” the order, obtained by TPM, said. “There will be no position on the ballot for the Democratic Party for US Senate. Remember to include a write-in blank.”

“There is no change to the candidate list that was certified to you on September 19 in an email,” the order said. That referred to a previous order, issued after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Kobach could not force withdrawn Democratic nominee Chad Taylor to stay on the ballot. So at the time, the certified candidate list had no Democratic candidate.

“Use that list in preparing ballots for the remainder of this election cycle,” the new order issued Wednesday said.

The Shawnee County district court ruled on Wednesday that the state Democratic Party did not have to pick a new nominee for the Senate race after Taylor dropped out last month. Kobach had originally said that Taylor must stay on the ballot, but was overruled by the Kansas Supreme Court.

He then sided with the lawsuit brought by a registered Democratic voter, David Orel, that attempted to force Kansas Democrats to select a new nominee. Kobach even attempted to be made a party to the lawsuit, but the court denied his motion.

Orel’s attorney, Thomas Haney, did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment on whether he would appeal to the state Supreme Court. But election law experts like the University of California-Irvine’s Rick Hansen have said that it is likely too late to get a Democratic candidate on the ballot, and now Kobach has issued the printing order Wednesday.

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