Judge Rules in Electioneering Lawsuit

A federal district judge has ruled that Kansas law prohibiting electioneering within 250 feet of a polling site is constitutional, and does not infringe on First Amendment rights.

District Judge Holly Teeter dismissed a challenge brought against Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Johnson County Election Commissioner by individuals from Douglas, Johnson and Sedgwick counties and the group Kansas for Change, Inc.

The plaintiffs claimed their First Amendment speech rights were violated by the state’s restriction on interacting with voters within 250 feet of polling sites.

Teeter said the Kansas law is constitutional, pointing to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that rejected a challenge to a similar law in Tennessee.

Teeter said all 50 states have laws restricting electioneering to address problems of voter intimidation and election fraud.

Teeter noted that a 2018 Attorney General Opinion says that non-partisan voter-assistance activities or signage within 250-feet of a polling entrance does not constitute electioneering, because the activities would not be attempting to persuade or influence voters.