According to analysis of the voter registration and voter history of the 39 candidates running for U.S. Senate or U.S. House from Kansas three cannot cast ballots for themselves unless they change their current voter registrations.
Robert Conroy’s bid for U.S. Senate
Robert Conroy, 82, Shawnee, is Democrat who filed to run for U.S. Senate. “I’m just a working person. I’ve always been a Democrat.”
But the Johnson County Election Office confirmed on Monday that Conroy is currently a registered Republican. Voter registration records show Conroy has been a Republican for about two years but was registered as a Democrat before that.
Conroy does not know why records show he is now a Republican. “If someone switched it to Republican, I have no control over that.”
Tyler Longpine, Kansas Democratic Party Communications Director, said the Democratic Party primary is open to unaffiliated voters, but not Republicans. Conroy will need to re-register to vote for himself in the primary.
Bryan Caskey from the Kansas Secretary of State‘s office said the voter registration form and the filing form to run for office do not have to correlate. The selection on the filing form is the one that is put on the ballot.
Tom Scherer’s Run for KS-3 Congress
Tom Scherer, 56, a candidate for the U.S. House, recently changed from a Republican to a Democrat to run against Stephene Moore in a two-way primary avoiding the nine-way Republican primary in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District.
But voter registration records from the Secretary of State show no Tom Scherer registered to vote in Kansas now.
When reached by phone in Prairie Village, Scherer said “I was registered in Kansas …, but I’m registered in Florida right now.” Scherer admitted he cannot vote for himself in August. “I’m a snowbird.” Scherer registered to vote in January 2010 in Lee County Florida.
“By registering as a voter in Florida — because I’m a 100% disabled veteran — I pay zero real estate tax. In Kansas, I’d have to pay $1,400, so it’s a matter of economics,” according to Scherer. “Becoming a resident of Florida is worth $5,000 to me … Florida is a lot nicer to disabled people than Kansas.”
Scherer said he owns three homes, one each in Florida, Missouri and Kansas. He said his primary residence right now is in Prairie Village at his sister’s house even though he also owns a house in Merriam.
Scherer said that if elected he would not just be a representative of the 3rd Distinct. “The people of your district are the only ones who can vote for you to be a Congressman, but my position is I represent everyone in the United States.”
Caskey from the Secretary of State’s office explained the U.S. Constitution requires a congressional candidate to be “an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen” and Kansas law offers no definition for “inhabitant.” According to Caskey, Scherer qualifies as an inhabitant of Kansas even though he is registered to vote in Florida.
Sean Tevis in KS-2
Another candidate running in a district where he is not currently registered is Sean Tevis. He currently lives in Olathe in the 3rd Congressional District but plans to move to Lawrence in the 2nd District.
Tevis, 40, a Democrat, will not see his name on a ballot in Olathe.
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Voter history is one measure of a voter's interest in political and government processes. Kansas voter registration information, which is an open record, reveals the last 10 ballots cast by each voter.
Comparing history among candidates gives clues to priorities, but is an inexact science.
For example, some areas have more local elections than other areas. Sometimes primary elections have less importance to one party than the other depending on county.
A higher count of ballots cast in a particular category will reduce the counts in other categories. For example, someone voting in more spring elections and special elections will have reduced ballot counts in August or November elections.
Not all areas will have special elections.
U.S. Senate Candidates
Eight of the nine U.S. Senate candidates (Robert Conroy, David Haley, Charles Schollenberger, Patrick Wiesner, Tom Little, Bob Londerholm, Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt) have been registered 10 years or more, and have 10 ballots in their voter history, the maximum number. These eight have voted in local spring elections, August primary elections and November.
The other candidate, Lisa Johnston, a Democrat, has been registered since 2004, but has not yet voted in an August primary election. Johnston will face four other candidates in her U.S. Senate bid in August and likely will vote in her first primary election this year.
Five of the seven KS-1 candidates (Alan Jilka, Jim Barnett, Sue Bolda, Tim Huelskmap, Tracey Mann) have a “perfect” voter history having cast 10 ballots. Six of these seven voted in spring, August and November elections.
State Senator Tim Huelskmap, while voting in a total of 10 August and November elections, shows no voter history in local elections in Meade County. Huelskamp explained:
Having voted my entire life in Fowler, I know that often our local elections are uncontested. I also know there are some data problems, as I did vote in the 2005 Spring election when the Marriage Amendment I authored was on the ballot.
Tracey Mann shows a good voter history, but it is from votes cast in Johnson County in the 3rd District where he was registered from about 2003 to 2009. In the last 10 years, Mann has been registered in the 1st District only from 2000 to 2002 and since early 2009 but cast no known ballots in the 1st District.
Voter history for Rob Wasinger only shows two ballots cast, one in Nov. 2008 and the other in Spring 2009. Wasinger was registered in Topeka in 2000-2002, in Hays at his aunt’s house 2005-2009 (but at times he was not registered), and since 2009 in Cottonwood Falls. While not being registered for much of 2008 in Hays, Wasinger cast a ballot there in Nov. 2008.
Marck Cobb voted only in Nov. 2000 and Nov. 2008 and never in an August primary. Cobb explained:
I cast a vote when I am able to obtain sufficient knowledge about the character and actions of a candidate. The voter history reflects an apathy due to “politics as usual”. The primary election in the past for the First Congressional District was only lightly contested. Although this is not an excuse not to exercise the right to vote, it reflects a need to be more pro-active in obtaining greater in-depth knowledge about the candidates.
None of Cobb, Mann and Wasinger have voted in an August primary contest in the 1st District, but they will be in one this year.
The 2nd District has the fewest number of candidates with three in the Democratic primary and two in the Republican primary. None of the Democratic candidates have lived in the district for 10 years or more, while both Republicans have.
Democratic candidate Cheryl Hudspeth cast only four votes according to voter history and has been registered in Crawford County only since about 2006. Hudspeth voted mostly in November presidential elections, having cast only one spring ballot. Hudspeth has not voted in a previous August primary.
Democratic candidates Thomas Koch and Sean Tevis have voted in Spring, August and November elections, but none of Tevis’ votes have been cast in the 2nd District. Tevis lives in Olathe in the 3rd District, and plans to move to the 2nd District.
Both Republicans, Lynn Jenkins and Dennis Pyle, voted in spring, August and November elections.
The 3rd District is rich with 11 candidates; two Democrats and nine Republicans.
Both Democrats, Stephene Moore and Thomas Scherer cast 10 ballots, but Scherer’s history is from 2009 when he was registered in Kansas. As described above, Scherer is running in Kansas but is registered to vote in Florida.
Unlike Moore who has been a registered Democrat for at least the last 10 years. Scherer was a Republican in 2000, but switched to be a Democrat from 2000-2006. Scherer changed his party affiliation back to a Republican from 2007-2010, but claims he is now a Democrat.
Seven of the nine Republicans (Garry Klotz, Patricia Lightner, Jerry Malone, Craig McPherson, John Rysavy, Jean Ann Uvodich, and Kevin Yoder) have a “perfect” voter history with 10 ballots cast and have voted in Spring, August and November elections.
Comments from Garry Klotz:
I now realize how important the primaries are in finding a good candidate to represent us. Until the last election cycle, I was one of the silent majority who was busy in my everyday life; covering seven states in my job, raising four children and coaching over forty teams in recreational sports while my children were growing up. …
I don’t think I was as politically aware at that point in time as I am now about the primary process. I thought that the party probably vetted the candidates and came up with the best candidate or the one with the most money who they thought could win. Now I realize that the one with the most money probably means he/she has the most baggage or owes the most political favors and is not the kind of candidate the people want to represent them. The reason I decided to run is that through talking to business owners and people throughout the district, I became aware that they were not enthusiastic about the people who were already running for the office and they were afraid we would get another wishy-washy Republican or even another Democrat to represent the 3rd District. I never seriously considered running for office until this year, but I felt that this was the year for the Silent Majority to stand up and say to Washington, “Enough!”, and to demand that their voice be heard.
Jean Ann Uvodich said:
As far as voting in the primary in 2008 is concerned, I did not find it necessary as I believed that Nick Jordan would win. Now that I am running, I realize how important that election can be and that I should have voted.
Two Republicans, Dan Gilyeat and Dave King, have voted only once in Nov. 2008. Gilyeat has been registered since 2008, while King has been registered since 2007. Neither has voted in an August primary.
John Rysavy, Jean Ann Uvodich and Garry Klotz voted in at least one August primary, but Rysavy and Uvodich have not voted in an August primary since 2004, and Klotz last voted in Aug. 1996.
Republican Kevin Yoder has been registered in Johnson County since 2002, but was registered in Lawrence as a Democrat in 2000-2002.
The 4th District has two Democratic candidates and five Republican candidates.
Both Democratic candidates, Raj Goyle and Robert Tillman, have 10 ballots in their voter history even though Tillman registered in 2003 and Goyle registered in 2002.
Goyle has only been registered at his own household address since 2007. In 2002-2006 he was registered at his parents’ address.
Only two of the five Republican candidates, Mike Pompeo and Jean Schodorf, show a “perfect” score of 10 ballots cast in their voter history.
Paij Rutschman has been registered to vote for 24 years but has only cast four ballots. She has not voted since Nov. 2004, and has never voted in an August primary.
Candidates Jim Anderson and Wink Hartman have cast only one ballot each, with Anderson voting in Nov. 2008 and with Hartman apparently voting in a special election (ballot code MB9410).
Neither Anderson nor Hartman has voted in an August primary contest.
We’ll look at voter history and voter registration of other state candidates in future articles.
Contact: Earl F Glynn, firstname.lastname@example.org, KansasWatchdog.org