Conspiracy Theories Pose Challenges for GOP’s Mail Ballot Return Time Reduction Efforts in Kansas

Credits: WKRG

The Kansas Legislature’s efforts to shorten the time for voters to return mail ballots appear to have been derailed by baseless election conspiracy theories.

The state Senate was considering a bill to eliminate the three-day grace period for returning mail ballots, a policy that many Republicans argue undermines confidence in election results.

However, during a debate, GOP senators amended the bill also to ban remote ballot drop boxes and bar the use of machines to count ballots, echoing conspiracy theories about election fraud.

These amendments have made the bill unlikely to pass in the House, where Republican leaders have expressed opposition to the bans on ballot drop boxes and vote-tabulating machines.

Conspiracy (Credits: AP News)

Additionally, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly opposes eliminating the grace period for mail ballots, making it unlikely that the bill would survive a veto.

The push to restrict mail ballots and voting machines is part of a broader trend within the Republican Party, fueled by former President Donald Trump’s false claims about election fraud. Despite the lack of evidence to support these claims, some Republicans continue to promote them, leading to divisions within the party.

Voting rights advocates argue that shortening the time for voters to return mail ballots could disenfranchise thousands of people, particularly poor, disabled, older voters, and people of color. They emphasize that these policies make it harder for people to vote and could roll back progress in ensuring access to the ballot.

In response to the Senate’s actions, the House Elections Committee chair has proposed expanding early voting by three days to offset the shorter deadline for returning mail ballots. He has also stated that the House has no support for banning or restricting ballot drop boxes.

The debate in Kansas reflects the ongoing battle over voting rights and election integrity, with Republicans pushing for stricter voting laws based on unfounded claims of fraud, while Democrats and voting rights advocates argue for policies that expand access to the ballot.

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