Kansas Official: Decision To Kick Sen. Roberts Off Ballot Not Mine To Make

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) won’t say whether tea partier Milton Wolf is right that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) shouldn’t be allowed the ballot because he doesn’t reside in the state, but he does suggest that Wolf’s motives for calling that into question are political.

“I imagine that he’s raising this as an issue because it’s a campaign issue that may have some traction —or it may not, depending on how voters view it,” Kobach said in an interview with TPM on Friday. “But as a legal question, there’s a very formal process that Kansas law lays out and he’s got to follow that process if he wants us to look at it legally.”

Wolf, who is waging a tea party primary challenge against Roberts, sent a letter to Kobach earlier Friday demanding that Roberts be kicked off the ballot after. But according to Kobach, that’s not his decision to make.

“Kansas law requires the secretary of state to presume that a filing is valid,” Kobach said. But there is a three-business-day window during which Wolf can file a formal objection to Roberts’ candidacy, Kobach said, and that window closes Wednesday.

“At that point then a hearing ensues before the Objections Board for the State of Kansas and the Objections Board is comprised of the Secretary of State, the attorney general, and the lieutenant governor so I’m going to refrain from answering … what I think because there may very well be an objection and so I’ll have to assess the evidence if an objection is filed,” Kobach said.

Kobach has gotten into the national spotlight for his opposition to immigration reform and pushing restrictive voter ID requirements.

Kobach said he had not spoken to the Wolf campaign and he did not know if it planned to file a formal objection. Kobach does not consider the letter the Wolf campaign released Friday to be formal objection.

The move by Wolf to get Roberts kicked off the ballot is the latest attempt by his campaign to try and capitalize on Roberts living primarily in Virginia rather than Kansas. The New York Times reported in May that Roberts did not own a home in Kansas and used the address of two political donors when he needed to list a Kansas address.

If Wolf did file a formal objection, Kobach said, the question of whether Roberts should be on the ballot or not would be handled quickly.

“If you filed an objection, it would be concluded very quickly,” Kobach said.