Commentary: Loyalty drives a wedge into Kansas GOP

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

Seventeen Johnson County residents elected by voters as precinct leaders have been disenfranchised by the Kansas Republican Party.

The 17 ran afoul of the party’s loyalty plank. This bylaw states that party members in official capacities risk losing their voting rights in party elections if they aid non-Republican candidates. This includes donating money to a candidate from another party.

A state political party has leeway to enact that sort of rule. But those that do risk deepening party wounds and alienating voters.

Most of the 17 Johnson County precinct leaders were moderates. They were the subject of complaints by conservative Republicans, who forwarded information to the party’s five-member "loyalty committee."

A few hours before a scheduled vote on Johnson County party leadership positions on Monday, the 17 were informed their votes wouldn’t count, though they could cast provisional ballots and challenge the decision later.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.