TOPEKA (KSNT)- The Kansas House has voted to approve a bill establishing a one-time, state-funded presidential preference primary election on March 14, 2024.
The Kansas House voted to approve House Bill 2053 on Tuesday, which would open up a process currently run by state political parties to Kansas voters. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.
“After I was naturalized, I left the ceremony hall and went directly to the election office to register to vote. It was the greatest pleasure and the greatest privilege of my life after that to participate in electing representatives and, ultimately, the President, and I think that that privilege and honor should be open to as many people as possible, and a Primary does that,” said Representative Carl Maughan, R-Colwich, who spoke in favor of the proposal.
According to Representative Pat Proctor, Republican Chair of the House Elections committee who carried the bill, “both sides,” the Republican party and Democratic party, are in favor of the measure.
Currently, state political parties foot the bill for the vetting presidential primary candidates ahead of the election. The parties hold local meetings, where members vote for who they’d like to see on the primary election ballot. That vote goes to the state political party leaders, then the national party convention for a final vote.
House Bill 2053 would open the process up to all Kansans, registered as a Democrat or Republican, in 2024.
However, the proposal is dividing some lawmakers. Republican Representative Trevor Jacobs, from Fort Scott, spoke in opposition to the bill on Tuesday, citing the cost to taxpayers.
According to the fiscal information for the bill, a representative for the Secretary of State’s Office said the cost would be about $5 million to the state. That’s with 60 of the state’s 105 counties reporting estimates for the cost.
“This doesn’t even make any sense at all. The parties themselves should have to pay, not the people. The people shouldn’t have to pay for this. This is the people’s money,” Jacobs said.