Archive for Thursday, February 22, 2001

Judge to consider primary question

February 22, 2001

A district judge could resolve Friday the question of whether the city of Basehor will have a primary election for the office of mayor.

On Friday, Feb. 23, Leavenworth County District Court Judge King will hear oral arguments from Leavenworth County Counselor David Van Parys and city of Basehor attorney John Thompson on whether an ordinance passed by the Basehor City Council in 1972 regarding primary elections conflicts with state law.

The ordinance in question exempts the city from sections of the Kansas State Constitution and provides alternate provisions relating to the election of mayor. Section five of the ordinance states that there shall be no primary elections in Basehor.

Thompson said if there are any Kansas statutes that deal with the subject of elections or primaries that do not apply to all cities, then the Basehor ordinance is valid.

"We believe there are cases and statutes which had developed subsequent to our ordinance that makes the Kansas Statute in question not uniform in its application," Thompson said.

The controversy over the primary began when the Leavenworth County Election Office declared Jan. 23 that the city would have to conduct a primary election because four candidates had filed for mayor. The Basehor City Council then voted in special session to ask a district court judge to overturn the county's ruling.

On Feb. 13, Thompson filed a petition for a declaratory judgment against the Leavenworth County Election Officer, Linda Scheer.

Thompson said he did not know if Judge King would come to a decision on Friday.

"It is really going to depend on a few factors, but Judge King's normal practice in a case like this, which is an issue of law, is that he will research the case prior to the hearing," Thompson said. "His practice is that he usually adjourns for an hour or so, puts his decision together and comes out with a verdict."

Thompson said if the judge rules against the city of Basehor, then the primary will go on as planned. If he rules that the primary is inappropriate, then the names of the candidates will still be on the ballot, but the votes will not be counted.

The date for the primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 27.

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