The Johnson County Board of Elections commissioner says during early voting in Kansas on Saturday, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District of Kansas, Jay Sidie, was electioneering.
Election volunteer Alan Petersen says he saw Sidie pass the 250 feet limit set by Kansas to talk with voters while voting was underway at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.
“He was standing here greeting people handing out brochures,” says Petersen.
Sidie’s campaign manager, Shawn Borich, says he was with Sidie and they were well beyond the 250 feet.
“Jay Sidie has never broken any laws and there’s been no charges against him,” he said. “What he has been doing is completely legally taking his message to the voters of the 3rd District.”
Kansas Law states wearing hats, pins, or paraphernalia within any polling place during Election Day and during early voting within 250 feet is illegal. It also includes trying to persuade a vote.
Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsket says Sidie was breaking the law, and that remedy was taken immediately.
Borich is chalking the incident up to dirty politics meant to silence Sidie’s message to voters.
“He is committed to winning every vote in the Kansas 3rd District and believes that the best way to do so is going out and talking to folks and answering their questions,” said Borich.
“I’ve never encountered somebody actually doing the meet and greet so, which is pretty bold,” said Petersen.
Kevin Yoder campaign spokesman, CJ Grover, responded to the accusations against Sidie and said:
"This kind of disregard for Kansas law and deliberate attempt to illegally affect this election should disqualify Jay Sidie from holding higher office. As the state's highest election authority, the Secretary of State's office should immediately assess the appropriate penalties and ensure that this doesn't happen again between now and when the polls close on Election Day."
Ali Hoxie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org