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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Kansans Urged To Vote Down The Ballot On Election Day

Heather Katsoulis
flickr Creative Commons

Kansas’ two main political parties are hoping voters work their way down the entire ballot on Nov. 8.

The Kansas Democratic Party has started a social media campaign called “Finish the Ballot" where they're encouraging voters to consider more races than just the one at the top of the ticket: the race for president.

Field and political director Cheyenne Davis says it’s often those down-ballot races that have the most impact on voters’ daily lives.

“The things that they see as the biggest problems here in Kansas many of our voters don’t realize that the president isn’t going to be able to impact those things the way that our legislative candidates would, or even our justices," she says.

The 2016 general election ballot is a full one: All 165 legislative seats will be on ballots and five of the state’s seven Supreme Court justices are up for retention.

The Kansas Republican Party isn’t planning a particular effort around down-ballot voting, but executive director Clay Barker says he does encourage every voter to go down the entire ballot.

"There's always a tendency to have an under-vote, where people start at the top of the ballot and work down," he says.

Voter turnout tends to jump between presidential and non-presidential years, he says, and as a result, the voters that do come out when there's a presidential race might not be familiar with the races further down. In 2012--the last presidential election year--voter turnout in Kansas was just under 67 percent, according to data from the Kansas Secretary of State's office. In both 2010 and 2014, turnout was about 50 percent.

Both the Kansas GOP and the Kansas Democratic Party put out lists of all of their candidates running in the election. Barker says voters can also look at sample ballots ahead of Election Day so they're familiar with races before they go to the polls.

"We hope we have a lot of informed voters," he says.


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Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.