One of the achievements of this year’s legislative session was a bill establishing sensible requirements for candidates for state offices such as governor and attorney general.
On Friday, Gov. Jeff Colyer signed House Bill 2539, which will require candidates for governor in future elections to be at least 25 years old.
Kansas was one of only two states that did not have a minimum age to run for governor. Vermont is now the only state with no minimum age.
The minimum age requirement also applies to the office of lieutenant governor.
The bill also will require candidates for statewide offices — including governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and commissioner of insurance — to be residents of the state.
Multiple teenagers and out-of-state residents have announced intentions to run for governor and other offices in the 2018 elections. The bill will not affect those candidates because it does not take effect until next year.
The bill also states that every candidate for the office of attorney general must be licensed to practice law within the state of Kansas.
The bill also makes changes to how elections are conducted. For example, it prohibits counties from purchasing or leasing electronic voting machines that do not also provide paper records of voters’ ballots at the time the ballots are cast. And the bill makes changes to loosen requirements for advance ballots so that people with physical disabilities who cannot sign their name can still cast ballots.
The bill also requires random audits of each election, while extending the time counties have to conduct final canvasses of an election to any business day within 13 days after the election.
The lack of even minimal requirements to file as a candidate for the state’s top offices threatened to make a mockery of the gubernatorial and other state elections.
The changes included in House Bill 2539 fix those issues and implement much needed, common-sense reforms.
— The Lawrence Journal-World