Sen. Julia Lynn flubs paperwork, will remain on November ballot

By: - September 2, 2020 8:31 pm
Bryan Caskey, elections director for the Kansas Secretary of State's office, notified Sen. Julia Lynn on Wednesday she would remain on the November ballot. (Sherman Smtih/Kansas Reflector)

Bryan Caskey, elections director for the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, notified Sen. Julia Lynn on Wednesday she would remain on the November ballot. (Sherman Smtih/Kansas Reflector)

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday denied Sen. Julia Lynn’s last-minute effort to drop off the November ballot.

Lynn announced her plans to retire on Tuesday, the deadline to be removed from the ballot, citing her sister’s failing health. Kansas law allows candidates to quit after the primary if they have a severe medical hardship.

The Republican senator from Olathe, who has served in the Legislature since 2006, flubbed her paperwork to withdraw by not providing a signature on her petition from a medical doctor. Bryan Caskey, the state’s director of elections, notified Lynn via email that she will remain on the ballot for November.

In an interview, Secretary of State Scott Schwab said Lynn’s original filing was signed by a nurse, which didn’t comply with state law requiring a medical doctor licensed in Kansas to attest to the hardship claim. He said Lynn sent him a replacement letter 3 p.m. Wednesday signed by a physician, but the deadline had passed and the denial properly executed.

Schwab, a former House member, said his obligation was to follow state law and adhere to legislative intent.

“What is the right decision?” Schwab said. “We don’t care if it’s comfortable or not.”

He said he voted as a state representative for the “high-bar” requirement of a doctor’s signature. Lynn voted for that bill as well, he said.

Lynn’s general electin opponent, Democrat Stacey Knoell, a public school educator in the Johnson County district, said the situation with Lynn won’t alter the campaign. Knoell said her campaign is based on small donations and virtual meet-and-greets.

“We are going to continue to run our race to bring my voice to Topeka,” Knoell said. “That’s essentially where we’re at with it.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is a lifelong Kansan.

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