Power of capital letter at the eye of brewing political storm in KS

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WICHITA, Kan. What's the power of a capital letter? That question is at the at the 'eye' of a brewing political storm in Kansas.

This comes after the secretary of state's office orders election clerks to use lower case 'i's' for independent candidates on the November ballot.

Alan LaPolice is an independent candidate for Congress from Western Kansas. He says something odd caught his eye when he was looking over a sample ballot with a county elections clerk: the lower case 'i' on his party designation.

"And they're basically saying, you're not in a party, you don't count," LaPolice says.

Eyewitness News confirmed the change with the secretary of state's office. Despite calls and emails to multiple people, we could not get any answers as to why the change was made, or when it was made.

LaPolice and Marcey Gregory (independent candidate for the Sedgwick County Commission) think the change is about throwing mud in the eyes of the near-record number of independent candidates in Kansas this year.

"It kind of sends a message, even an unspoken message, that we are not as important," Gregory says. "We are not as viable as candidates."

Psychologists say you can't close your eyes to market research showing upper case letters carry authority and establishment, while lower case letters imply relaxation and casualness.

La Police thinks that's exactly the result the secretary of state had his eye on when he made the change on the ballot.

"I thought this was something that Kris Kobach is famous for," he says. "Kris Kobach is our secretary of state. He's made a career out of restricting access to the voters."

LaPolice is upset enough at the change that he's eyeing a possible lawsuit, saying that under the U.S. Constitution, he's an equal candidate on the ballot and should be treated as such. This includes getting a capital letter on his party designation.