Beside voting for Democrats, it is incredibly important for you to vote on the remaining questions at the bottom of your ballot. Here is how we are encouraging you to vote:
Vote YES to retain all of the state judges!
Vote NO to defeat both constitutional amendments!
We Kansans will be voting in November whether to “retain”—or keep—our state court judges. Retention elections are not new in Kansas, but the number of judges up for retention this election—13 out of 21—is astoundingly high. Why should we care? Because retaining these 13 judges will protect our vote last August on abortion rights.
In Kansas, the governor appoints our judges to the state supreme court and the court of appeals. Thereafter, we voters periodically get to decide whether to keep each judge who is up for retention. State court judges are up for retention 1) the first general election after being appointed by the governor and 2) every six years after that.
When we vote “YES” to retain a judge, that judge keeps their judge job. When we vote “NO,” that judge loses their judge job, which creates a vacancy at the court. How is this vacancy filled? See above: The governor appoints the new judge.
If Kansas voters don’t retain our state court judges, the governor—which will be either Laura Kelly or Derek Schmidt—will replace those judges. And if Derek Schmidt is elected, be sure he’ll appoint 13 anti-abortion judges who will uphold draconian abortion restrictions and outright abortion bans.
Vote “YES” to retain all of our judges so there are no judge vacancies for Derek Schmidt to fill if he wins the governor’s race.
Passing the “Legislative Veto” amendment would take veto power away from the governor and give that power to the Republican-led state legislature to strike down rules and regulations that protect our health, safety, and the environment. If passed, the amendment would give the legislature sole and exclusive authority to revoke or suspend regulations established by state executive agencies, like the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Currently, if legislators don’t like an agency regulation—say a regulation prohibiting dumping toxic chemicals into our water streams—they must pass a law, which would require a 2/3 vote, or a veto-proof majority. A vote for this proposed amendment would change that number to a mere simple majority—51% of our state legislators could strike down state agency regulations, and the governor would have no say. Vote “no” to maintain the status quo, which requires a 2/3, veto-proof vote in the legislature to revoke agency regulations.
Legislative Veto amendment
Passing the “Sheriff Amendment” would require that, going forward, counties in Kansas be required to elect a sheriff as their head of county law enforcement—even if a county government decides to consolidate with city government. Also, and significantly, this amendment would take away power from our local district attorneys to initiate any investigation into misconduct by a sheriff (a “quo warranto” proceeding) and give that power solely and exclusively to the attorney general. Currently, if a local district attorney believes a sheriff has behaved badly—say hiding or tampering with evidence in a criminal case—that local district attorney or the attorney general can initiate an investigation. If this amendment passes, local district attorneys would be stripped of that power. Vote “no” to maintain the status quo—that the attorney general or a local district attorney can initiate an investigation into a sheriff’s misconduct.
Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister has provided this useful information about the Kansas Preservation of Sheriff Constitutional amendment on the ballot and recommends a Yes vote on the amendment. The Douglas County Democratic Party leadership has recommended a NO vote on the Kansas Preservation of Sheriff Constitutional Amendment because it removes decision making and oversight from the county level and places sole sheriff removal authority with the Kansas Attorney General. However, we respectfully thank Sheriff Armbrister for this information which will be useful to voters in making their decision.