Ballot battle heats up ahead of Kansas Supreme Court decision

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

TOPEKA, Kansas – The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in deciding whether Chad Taylor’s name will remain on the November ballot in the race for the U.S. Senate.

It was a back and forth legal battle in Topeka Tuesday between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Democrat in the race for U.S. Senate, Chad Taylor.

Arguments were presented by both parties’ legal teams.

Justices’ decision will come down to one line in the Kansas statute: defining what it means to “declare” a candidate incapable of serving, and thereby, allowing that candidate to drop out of a political race. Deciding, as well, if referencing the Kansas statute in a candidate’s withdrawal letter is enough to fulfill that statute.

“This case is not about what the secretary wishes or what he wants. This is about the clear, unambiguous language, the words in the statutes,” said Pedro Irigonegaray, the attorney for Taylor.

“Mr. Taylor didn’t say anything. Nothing. Nothing at all. All he had to do was say 14 words or just give us a few facts describing his circumstances,” explained Kobach in a press conference held after Tuesday’s court proceedings.

However, it is the withdrawal letter of a now former Democratic candidate in Kansas that KSN political analyst Jeff Jarman argues does not spell out what the Secretary of State says is required by statute.

“The interesting thing about her letter is she doesn’t cite that she’d be unable to serve. It says she’d be unable to campaign, which is not a reason you’re allowed to be removed from the ballot,” said Jarman.

Miranda Rickel ran this election season to represent the fifth district in the Kansas House of Representatives. That is, until her withdrawal letter, dated August 28, 2014, was in fact, accepted by the Secretary of State’s office on September 3.

Kobach’s attorney, Eddie Greim, said that the Secretary of State has the authority to make that decision.

“He has discretion to say whether someone has declared that they are incapable or not,” said Greim.

In response to Rickel’s withdrawal letter, Kobach said, “Has she declared facts, saying she’d be incapable of serving? The answer is ‘yes.'”

The decision will ultimately be decided by the state’s highest court before Friday, September 19, when ballots are expected to be printed.

Click here to read the latest information and legal filings surrounding the Supreme Court decision.

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