TOPEKA — United Kansas became the state’s third recognized minor political party Friday to join No Labels Kansas and the Libertarian Party on general election ballots in 2024.

Secretary of State Scott Schwab said United Kansas was acknowledged as a party after submitting petition signatures of registered voters that surpassed 2% of total votes cast in the gubernatorial election in 2022. The new party would be able to nominate candidates and register voters under the United Kansas name.

United Kansas organizer Jack Curtis said official recognition moved the state’s voters closer to a “more vibrant, representative democracy” through a process that sought election of principled, commonsense candidates.

He said the objective at the outset would be elections for Kansas House and Kansas Senate. Candidates nominated for their willingness to work across party lines would be announced by the June 3 candidate filing deadline in Kansas, he said.

“Too many Kansans feel stranded in the increasing divide between the two major parties,” he said. “Having earned the support of more than 35,000 voters, United Kansas will help bridge this gap by backing viable candidates who are focused on real problem-solving in our communities.”

The petition signatures were submitted to the secretary of state’s office last month. County election officers were responsible for validating signatures on the petitions.

Curtis said the party’s organizers were interested in building the argument for fusion voting — an idea that would enable United Kansas to cross-nominate Republican or Democratic candidates. Litigation may be necessary to implement the concept, he said.

If the nomination system was approved in Kansas, he said, votes would be tallied separately by party and added together to produce final results.

Curtis said the system would give major parties greater incentive to appeal to moderate and independent voters, while also solving the “spoiler” or “wasted vote” challenges plaguing U.S. third party candidates.

In January, the Kansas secretary of state formally recognized No Labels Kansas. The Libertarian Party has been on ballots in Kansas since 1992.