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Kansas ballots will be mailed without Dem Senate candidate listed

Kansas ballots will be mailed overseas this weekend without a Democratic candidate listed, the Kansas secretary of State’s office confirmed to The Hill.

{mosads}The decision deals another blow to Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) chances for reelection, as it leaves independent Greg Orman’s path to take him on unencumbered by a Democratic candidate, who may have drawn votes away from him. Polling has shown in a head-to-head matchup, Orman leads the incumbent by a sizeable single-digit margin.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled earlier this week in favor of Democrat Chad Taylor’s attempt to remove himself from the ballot, which had been blocked by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R).

After the ruling came down on Thursday, Kobach insisted there would be a Democrat on the ballot regardless, pointing to a state legal statute that requires the state party name a replacement nominee at a convention. He said his office would move the mailing deadline back and gave Democrats a week to choose a replacement.

Democrats, however, said they planned to take no steps to comply, and Kobach ultimately ran up against a deadline imposed by federal law for ballots to be mailed to overseas voters, which is this Saturday.

His office has instructed local election officials to send those ballots out with just Orman, Roberts and Libertarian Randall Batson listed.

But the Associated Press is reporting the legal complications surrounding the Kansas Senate race are not over, and some 500 voters may be told to vote again before Election Day.

At issue is a petition filed by a registered Democrat on Thursday, with the Kansas Supreme Court calling for the court to force the state Democratic Party to name a replacement to Taylor. The petitioner, David Orel, is reportedly the father of a staffer for endangered Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) reelection campaign.

In a letter obtained by The Hill, Kobach asks county election officials to retain, unopened, all returned overseas ballots, pending the outcome of Orel’s litigation.

“Depending on the outcome of this litigation… it is possible that there will be a recertification of the list of candidates,” he writes in the letter. “Our intent is to recertify the list of candidates if the Supreme Court orders the Democratic Party to name a replacement nominee or if the Democratic Party otherwise names a replacement nominee as it is required to do under Kansas law.”

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