Guidance Regarding Activities at or Near Kansas Polling Places

Kansas law prohibits “electioneering” or “disorderly election conduct” at or within a certain distance of polling places. Depending on the circumstances, there may be certain First Amendment issues related to activities by persons at polling places.

Electioneering

The following activities are prohibited:

Any person that appears to be engaged in electioneering may be asked to leave; or be asked to stop the electioneering activity.

For example, person wearing a candidate campaign button can be asked to remove the button and place it in his or her pocket or purse.

If the person refuses to leave or stop electioneering, the polling place owner (or the owner’s representative) or the polling place official may contact the Election Commissioner; or if necessary, call 911 for law enforcement assistance.

Electioneering does not include bumper stickers on a motor vehicle used to transport voters to a polling place or to an advance voting site for the purpose of voting; or actions related to candidates or questions not on the ballot for the current election.

Disorderly Election Conduct

Disorderly election conduct is willfully:

  1. Disturbing the peace in or about any voting place on election day;
  2. leaving or attempting to leave a voting place in possession of any ballot, except as is specifically permitted by law;
  3. approaching or remaining closer than three feet to any voting booth, voting machine or table being used by an election board except as admitted for the purpose of voting or by authority of the supervising judge;
  4. interrupting, hindering or obstructing any person approaching any voting place for the purpose of voting;
  5. engaging in any of the following activities within 250 feet from the entrance of a polling place during the hours the polls are open on election day:
    1. solicitation of contributions. . . . K.S.A. 25-2413.

Any person that appears to be engaged in disorderly conduct should be asked to leave; or to stop the disorderly conduct.

If they refuse, the polling place owner (or the owner’s representative) or the polling place official(s) should contact the Election Commissioner for specific guidance; or if necessary, call 911 for law enforcement assistance.

First Amendment Issues at Polling Places

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution restricts government regulation of free speech, which can include both verbal expression as well as expressive conduct.

Polling places are generally considered a limited public forum for First Amendment purposes, since the use of the site is intended for voting activities only and is not intended to allow a full range of speech and conduct. The extent of First Amendment rights at any particular polling place depends on the circumstances involved.

If someone claims their activities are protected by the First Amendment, the polling place owner (or the owner’s representative) or the polling place official(s) should contact the Election Commissioner for specific guidance.

Other Questions Regarding Polling Place Activities

Any other questions about activities at polling places may be directed to polling place officials or the Election Commissioner at (316) 660-7100.