Thursday, August 1, 2019

TOPEKA – Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab announced the formation of a working group to draft rules and regulations for vote center provisions contained in Substitute for SB130. The working group will be chaired by Secretary Schwab and consist of Kansas election officers, county clerks, election experts and security specialists.

“Equally important to sound public policy are rules and regulations accompanying them,” said Schwab. “We look forward to working with these qualified professionals to establish fair, articulate and achievable rules and regulations for vote centers.”

Election technology is consistently a key target for third parties wishing to interfere in elections. To implement the vote center provisions, counties will need to use electronic pollbooks reliant on wireless networks to capture voter activity. According to Schwab, a significant portion of the rules and regulations will focus on ensuring wireless sources for electronic pollbooks exist at each vote center location. Priority, said Schwab, should be on establishing thorough and comprehensive oversight to make sure networks are protected and pollbooks are not subject to compromise.

In April, Schwab’s office wrote to each of the 105 election officials in Kansas to provide them with ample notice the vote center rules and regulations would not be complete in advance of the 2019 municipal elections. The letter included a reminder that counties have a choice to allow vote centers in their respective jurisdictions. The legislation states, “At the discretion of the county election officer, all voters within a county may be allowed to vote at any polling location on election day, provided all rules and regulations are followed as established by the secretary of state for such purpose.

“We are not in a hurry to make a mistake. We will be diligent in our work to establish rules and regulations that provide clarity to Kansas election officials while ensuring Kansas elections remain safe and secure,” said Schwab.

The working group will meet several times this fall to promulgate the vote center rules and regulations. Additional information about working group participants and meetings will be provided at a later date.

Scott Schwab grew up in Great Bend and graduated from Fort Hays State University. In November 2018, he was elected to serve as Kansas Secretary of State. Schwab previously served in the Kansas House of Representatives as Chairman of the House Elections Committee, Chairman of the House Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee and as House Speaker Pro Tempore. He resides in Olathe with his wife, Michele, and their children.

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