Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is predicting record low turnout in the Aug. 7 primary elections.
“Of the 1,719, 469 Kansans who are registered to vote, I expect approximately 310,000 will cast a ballot in Tuesday’s primary election,” Kobach said in a press conference on Aug. 2.
He predicts about 18 percent of registered voters will cast ballots in the 2012 primary. He noted the similarities between the 2006 primary election and the upcoming one. Turnout in the 2006 fall primary was 18.1 percent.
Part of the reason for the anticipated low turnout, he said, is that there are few contested Congressional races. Rep. Kevin Yoder is running unopposed, and there are no statewide races on the ballot. State legislative races generally don’t see high interest levels from voters.
Slow advanced balloting is another indication that voter turnout will be low. As of Aug. 2, 45,000 advanced ballots had been returned. In Johnson County, 14,133 advanced ballots had been returned as of Aug. 1.
Sarah Horn, Johnson County Election Office official, said Kobach’s analysis sounds about right. She anticipates approximately 18 percent of the county’s 371,500 registered voters will cast ballots in the primary election.
Not all registered voters are eligible to vote on Aug. 7. The primary is only open to Kansans to registered Democrats, registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Voters affiliated with one of the three minor parties recognized in Kansas – Americans Elect, Libertarian and Reform – do not participate in primary elections. Approximately .6 percent of registered voters are affiliated with a minor party.
Locally, there are no contested Democratic races, however there are several races on the Republican ticket.
The winner of the Republican primary will be sheriff. In that race, current Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning takes on Ken Smith, a law enforcement officer from Mission.
In a hotly contested Senate race, voters on the south side of Gardner, in Edgerton and in Spring Hill will choose a state Senator. In that race, current Sen. Pat Apple faces House member Charlotte O’Hara. The winner will represent the area as no Democrat has filed.
Locally, Gardner and Edgerton voters will vote to winnow the field in a Kansas House race that pits Bill Sutton, Gardner, against Dan Thompson, Gardner. The winner will face Democrat Kevin King in the general election in November.
Unaffiliated voters may vote a Republican ballot on Aug. 7 by filling out a registration form at the polling place and affiliating with the Republican Party.
Voters will be asked to show an I.D. at the polls this year. Advanced polls are open at four locations in Johnson County. Voters can cast advanced ballots in person from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Johnson County Election Office on weekdays through Aug. 3. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Great Mall of the Great Plains, Metcalf South Shopping Center and Ten Quivira Plaza in Shawnee. All four locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, and the election office location will also offer advance voting from 8 a.m. to noon on Aug. 6.
Polls will be open in Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 7. To find your polling place or to review voter registration information, visit the Johnson County Election website.