Kansas Legislature
5:39 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Bill Would Keep People From Changing Political Parties Before Primaries

A Kansas Senate committee is considering a bill that would stop people from switching political parties in the final weeks before a primary election.

The bill is designed to prevent people from changing their party affiliations between June 1st and September 1st.

Clay Barker, with the Kansas Republican Party, testified in favor of the bill Wednesday. He said it will help prevent people from switching parties to meddle in another party's primary.

“We see this bill as a narrowly tailored remedy for a practice of political gamesmanship that has been going on for a while and it is encouraged by some groups,” Barker said.

Some lawmakers questioned how common it actually is for people to switch parties to vote in a primary. The Mainstream Coalition, a non-partisan group, said primary elections can be the de facto general elections in some areas and the bill would block people from affiliating with the party of their choice.