Author

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. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Sen. Caryn Tyson trails Rep. Steven Johnson by fewer than 500 votes for the GOP nomination for state treasurer. The race won't be decided until three of the largest counties certify election results next week, but the deadline to challenge those results is Friday. (Photos by Tim Carpenter and Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

GOP candidates for Kansas treasurer will have to decide on recount before votes are certified

By: - August 9, 2022

TOPEKA — The Republican race for state treasurer may be unresolved for at least another week, when three of the state’s largest counties certify results from the primary election and decide whether to count or discard an unknown number of provisional ballots. But state law requires the candidates, who were separated by just 505 votes […]

Dana Chandler is being retried in Shawnee County District Court for the 2002 killings of her ex-husband and his fiancee. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

High-profile Kansas trial hinges on ‘jealousy, rage and obsession’ — without physical evidence

By: - August 5, 2022

TOPEKA — A Shawnee County prosecutor on Friday told jurors to forget about science as he laid out the circumstantial evidence connecting Dana Chandler to the 20-year-old killings of her ex-husband and his fiancee. All of the physical evidence in the case, including DNA collected from the crime scene, excludes Chandler, the defense countered. Chandler is […]

State Sen. Dennis Pyle on Aug. 1, 2022, turns in nearly 9,000 signatures from Kansas voters who support his independent campaign for governor. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas GOP sends text message asking voters to withdraw support for Dennis Pyle

By: - August 4, 2022

TOPEKA — The Kansas Republican Party instructed voters via text message Thursday to remove their names from the signatures gathered by state Sen. Dennis Pyle in his independent campaign for governor. Pyle, who thinks Republican nominee Derek Schmidt isn’t conservative enough, denounced the “evil path” taken by “left-wing” Republicans to keep Pyle off the November […]

Ashley All, spokeswoman for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, gives a speech Aug. 2, 2022, at a watch party in Overland Park after primary results verified Kansans voted to preserve abortion rights. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas abortion-rights activists emphasized attack on personal rights to defeat amendment

By: - August 3, 2022

TOPEKA — For Ashley All, the effort to defeat a constitutional amendment that would have eliminated abortion rights is the most consequential campaign the Kansas political veteran has worked on. The issue is personal, All told news reporters during a conference call Wednesday morning. “I have four daughters, and this” — All paused. “I don’t […]

Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, smiles Aug. 2, 2022, at the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom watch party after Kansans vote to preserve a constitutional right to abortion. (Lily O'Shea Becker/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas voters defeat abortion amendment in unexpected landslide

By: and - August 2, 2022

OVERLAND PARK — Kansas voters in a landslide Tuesday defeated a constitutional amendment that would have stripped residents of abortion rights, defying polling and political observers who expected a close result. The ballot measure was failing by a 60-40 margin late Tuesday after voters responded to an intense and costly campaign marked by dubious claims […]

Democrats in Kansas received this unsolicited text message on Monday, which falsely claims that a "yes" vote protects reproductive rights. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Former U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp connected to false text about Kansas abortion amendment

By: - August 2, 2022

TOPEKA — Former U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp is behind the false text message about the constitutional amendment that enraged Democrats on Monday, the Washington Post reports. The newspaper traced the unsolicited text messages to a political tech firm called Alliance Forge and identified Huelskamp’s Do Right PAC as the client behind the campaign. Huelskamp, a […]

Former Gov. Jeff Colyer rallied volunteers and staff working for passage of an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would declare the document didn't assure women a right to abortion in Kansas. Voting on the amendment ends Tuesday. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas voters diving into first statewide referendum on abortion since Roe overturned

By: and - August 1, 2022

Kansans have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to vote on a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution striking the right to abortion in the state.

Dennis Pyle and running mate Kathleen Garrison deliver signatures Monday at the Secretary of State's Office for a place on the November ballot as an independent candidate for governor. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas state senator delivers signatures needed to enter governor’s race as independent

By: - August 1, 2022

TOPEKA — Kansas Sen. Dennis Pyle delivered 8,894 signatures Monday to the Secretary of State’s Office, clearing the 5,000 threshold needed to secure a place as an independent candidate for governor on the November ballot. Pyle’s entry into the race is expected to benefit Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly by siphoning votes from Republican Derek Schmidt. […]

A voter fills out an advanced ballot on July 29, 2022, at the Shawnee County Elections Office. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas secretary of state refuses to provide provisional ballot records despite court ruling

By: - August 1, 2022

TOPEKA — Secretary of State Scott Schwab is refusing to turn over provisional ballot records in advance of the primary election, despite an appeals court ruling that says he is violating state open records law. Voting rights advocate Davis Hammet renewed his request for the records in hopes of helping voters ensure their ballots are […]

Brooklynne Roulette Mosley, a Lawrence resident who was deployed as a member of the Air Force eight times to the Middle East, says she is "unimpressed" with U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall standing in the way of legislation that would provide health care benefits to veterans exposed to toxins. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas veteran unimpressed with U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall’s ‘lame’ flip on burn pits legislation

By: - July 31, 2022

LAWRENCE — Brooklynne Mosley says U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall should stop using veterans as political props if he isn’t willing to support federal legislation providing health care coverage for the toxins they were exposed to during deployments. Marshall, a Kansas Republican, last week flipped his position on the bill to block it from moving forward in […]

A small group of protestors picket near the Dickinson County courthouse in Abilene to oppose a constitutional amendment on abortion. The gathering led the county to issue a news release saying they would be arrested if they get within 250 feet of the courthouse. (Mary Grant)

Kansas abortion vote inspires arrest threat, personal lobbying, clergy letter, legal analysis

By: - July 29, 2022

TOPEKA — Dickinson County officials threatened to arrest Democrats who were protesting near the county courthouse in Abilene in opposition of the constitutional amendment on abortion. The dispute is indicative of tensions over the abortion amendment on the Aug. 2 ballot. The Kansas election has attracted national attention — along with millions in advertising and […]

Atchison County attached stickers to advanced mail ballots asking voters to check a box saying they have not violated state law by delivering more than 10 ballots. The ACLU of Kansas intervened to make sure ballots would be counted regardless of whether the box was checked. (Submitted)

ACLU of Kansas intervenes on behalf of voters in multiple counties ahead of primary election

By: - July 28, 2022

TOPEKA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas has helped resolve election-related concerns in counties around the state in advance of next week’s primary. The organization runs a nonpartisan “election protection” hotline to ensure safe and accessible voting, and it will deploy trained poll observers next week. “We’ve intervened in four or five different matters […]