Elections » Political Parties
The ability to form a political party remains a founding principle of this country and a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. Any citizen of the state of Kansas has the right to form an official party recognized by the state if certain requirements outlined by Kansas law are met.
There are currently three political parties that have received official recognition by the Kansas Secretary of State: the Kansas Democratic Party, the Kansas Republican Party, and the Libertarian Party of Kansas.
To obtain official recognition in the state of Kansas, party organizers must submit a petition that contains signatures of voters registered in the state and abides by the petition regulations outlined in Kansas law. The total number of valid signatures required for a successful petition is equal to 2 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for governor in the most recent general election for governor.
Petitions are filed with the Secretary of State's Office, and all signatures are reviewed by county election offices to ensure that the individuals meet the necessary requirements. After receiving approval from the Secretary of State's Office, the party must file an affidavit under oath identifying that the party is not affiliated with the Communist Party or foreign government and that the party does not advocate sedition, treason, or overthrow of the United States or Kansas governments.
Recognized political parties are able to nominate candidates for office and participate in the electoral process. Each political party forms a state committee to set the by-laws and rules the party follows. Individuals across the state may choose to register as a member of their party.
Loss of Party Recognition
There are two requirements for recognized political parties to maintain their official status with the state. At each general election for national and state offices, parties must: (a) nominate a candidate for at least one office that is elected statewide (e.g., governor, commissioner of insurance or state treasurer), and (b) at least one such candidate of the party must receive at least 1 percent of the total votes cast in the election for that office.
If a political party fails to meet these obligations, their status as a recognized party is no longer valid. Any registered voters affiliated with that party are then listed as unaffiliated. This party is no longer allowed to nominate candidates for office.