Filing for retention or partisan election
Judges of the district court are selected either by merit selection and retention vote, or by partisan ballot.
In districts where judges are appointed by nonpartisan merit selection, 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 Upcoming Elections webpage has candidate filing information.
Kansas Secretary of State
A candidate should also contact relevant county election offices to confirm his or her name appears correctly on the ballot.
Filing deadline for election districts
The deadline to file for elected office is noon June 1 each election year. If June 1 falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next business day.
Judge positions are state offices, so a candidate must file with the secretary of state's office. 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 from the secretary of state's 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 secretary of state's elections division or from the county election official. This form is not 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 to a district judge position, the Declaration of Intention, Form CD, must be accompanied by fees set by the secretary of state.
If filing for election to 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).
Filing deadline for retention district deadline to file
The deadline to file for retention is noon Monday before the first Tuesday in August before a candidate's term of office expires. 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 secretary of state's 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.
Verify filings are complete and the ballot is correct
A judicial candidate is considered to have filed for office when the secretary of state's office has received the petition or declaration and the appropriate fee. K.S.A. 25-208.
The candidate is responsible for ensuring that filed documents are sent to and received by the secretary of state's office. A candidate may verify a filing was received by going to the Candidate List page on the secretary of state's website. Submitting a query for the current year primary produces a list of officially recognized candidates for office. The judicial candidate will scroll through the list to his or her entry for district judge or district magistrate judge. Candidate names are as they will appear on the ballot. Questions should be directed to the secretary of state's office.
Even if the candidate is listed on the secretary of state's online list, the candidate should also check with the county election office to verify his or her name appears correctly on the ballot. A district judge in a multicounty district should check the election office for each county in the district.
Governmental and judicial ethics
Once a candidate files for office, the secretary of state's office notifies the Governmental Ethics Commission, which sends the candidate information about complying with campaign finance law. This law applies to 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 Conduct will send a copy of the code to the candidate once he or she files for office.