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BIPARTISAN GROUP OF ELECTED OFFICIALS ISSUE WARNING ON THIRD PARTY VOTER ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

TOPEKA – A bipartisan group of elected officials reminded Kansas voters to exercise caution with third party voter engagement efforts. Secretary of State Schwab, State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau and Senate President Susan Wagle have received hundreds of inquiries from Kansas residents expressing concern with confusing mailings, phone calls and electronic communications by third parties ahead of the November 3 General Election.

"Information collected by third parties may not meet signature and identification standards required by Kansas law," said Secretary of State Scott Schwab. "Not only does it create additional, duplicative work for local election officials but increases the possibility of voter confusion and incomplete voter registrations or advance mail ballot applications."

"Kansas voters are rightly concerned," said Senate President Susan Wagle. "Nothing prohibits third parties from using your information for purposes other than registering you to vote and there is no guarantee you will even be legally registered. It's easy to legally register in Kansas and there is no reason to risk fraud or abuse of personal information."

"Constituents in my district have received multiple mailings by out of state entities containing voter registration forms and advance by mail ballot applications," said State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D – District 29). "These mailings are confusing as many of the recipients have already registered to vote and requested their advance by mail ballots. It is important that voters have accurate election information to exercise their right to vote and make it count."

The Secretary of State's Office reports it is not uncommon for third parties – mainly political parties and advocacy organizations – to engage in voter outreach efforts in an election year. However, there has been a significant increase in contacts coordinated by out of state entities.

There have been reported issues with unsubmitted voter registrations, invalid signatures, and not receiving advance by mail ballots after using third party platforms. Voters should instead register to vote safely and securely online through the Secretary of State’s website – sos.ks.gov or by contacting their local election office. Voters can also download an advance by mail ballot application online at sos.ks.gov or through their local election office. The deadline to register to vote for the November General Election is October 13 while the deadline to request an advance by mail ballot is October 27.

State law requires voters to provide their driver’s license or photo identification number or a copy of a government issued ID with voter registration forms and advance by mail ballot applications. Signatures are also required for individuals registering to vote in Kansas and for those who request an advance by mail ballot for the 2020 general election.

OFFICIAL ELECTION RESOURCES

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