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Process for Judicial Candidates to File for Retention or Partisan Election

Judges of the district court are selected in one of two ways. One is by merit selection and retention vote, and the other is by partisan ballot.

In districts where judges are appointed by the nonpartisan merit selection process, those judges run for retention every four years. In districts where judges are selected by partisan ballot, judges run for office every four years on a partisan ballot.

Candidates for either judicial election or retention should contact the Office of the Secretary of State for answers to questions about procedure and to ensure all filing requirements have been met. The secretary of state's website has a page, Upcoming Elections, with 2016 candidate filing information and lists the office's main telephone number as 785-296-4564.

Candidates should also contact relevant county election office(s) to confirm their name appears correctly on the ballot.

Election Districts

The deadline to file for elected office is noon June 1, 2016. Because judge positions are state offices, a candidate must file with the Office of the Secretary of State. A candidate may file by petition or by Declaration of Intention, Form CD. Once filed, a petition or Form CD is a public record.

If filing by petition, the judicial candidate must submit the Kansas Primary Nomination Petition form available from the Office of the Secretary of State elections division, or from the county election official. When filed, a petition must be accompanied by a Governmental Ethics Commission/Secretary of State (GEC/SOS) fee of $70.

A candidate filing by Declaration of Intention, Form CD, may obtain the form from the Office of the Secretary of State elections division or from the county election official. This form is not available online because the county election official or the secretary of state must attest to the judicial candidate's signature on the form.

If filing for election of a district judge position, the Declaration of Intention, Form CD, must be accompanied by total fees of $1,270 ($1,200 filing fee and $70 GEC/SOS fee).

If filing for election of a district magistrate judge position, the Declaration of Intention, Form CD, must be accompanied by total fees of $170 ($100 filing fee and $70 GEC/SOS fee).

Retention Districts

The deadline to file for retention is noon August 1, 2016. A retention candidate for district judge or district magistrate judge must file a Judicial Retention Candidate's Declaration of Intention, Form JR, available from the Office of the Secretary of State elections division, or from the county election official. When filed, a $70 GEC/SOS fee must be paid. Once filed, the form is a public record.

Verifying filings are complete and the ballot is correct

A judicial candidate is considered to have filed for office when the Office of the Secretary of State has received the petition or declaration and the appropriate fee. K.S.A. 25-208. A candidate is responsible for ensuring that filed documents are sent to and received by the Office of the Secretary of State. A candidate may verify a filing was received by going to the Office of the Secretary of State website. On the home page, under "Quick Links," is the "2016 Primary Election Candidate List." That link opens a document listing all individuals who are officially recognized candidates for office. A judicial candidate will scroll through the list to find lists of judges and district magistrate judges. The list contains candidate names as they will appear on the ballot. Questions should be directed to the secretary of state's office.

Even if listed on the secretary of state's online candidate list, the judicial candidate should also check with his or her county election office to verify the candidate's name appears correctly on the ballot. A district judge in a multi-county district should check the local election office for each county in the district.

Governmental Ethics Information

Once a candidate files for office, the Office of the Secretary of State notifies the Governmental Ethics Commission, which sends the candidate information about compliance with the campaign finance law. This law applies to both elected and retention districts. A candidate who contemplates fundraising prior to filing for office through the secretary of state should contact the Governmental Ethics Commission for information before fundraising.

Judicial candidates are also governed by the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Commission on Judicial Qualifications will send a copy of the code to the candidate once he or she files for office.