Elections Question: Who's On My Kansas Ballot? Where Do They Stand?

Nov 8, 2016

Election Day is here, so it's time to get down to brass tacks. Our collaborative team covering elections in Kansas has been answering your questions, big and small.

Katie in Shawnee has the essential question:

“What’s the best place to find who will be on the ticket for my district, and what’s the best way to look at their platform?”

The secretary of state’s office has a voter portal, myvoteinfo.voteks.org, that lets anyone find their districts for all the races. And on the secretary of state’s website, there’s a full list of candidates in every district statewide for Congress, the Legislature, the state Board of Education, and district attorney.

The next step is discerning candidates' platforms.

Some organizations, including local newspapers and groups like Women for Kansas, have put out candidate questionnaires, although not every candidate has responded to every question.

Endorsements from groups across the political spectrum can give an indication of where candidates stand. In no particular order, the Mainstream Coalition, KNEA, the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansans for Life, NFIB and plenty of other groups have endorsed candidates. The Kansas Chamber hasn’t put out a new list of endorsements for the general elections, but some of the candidates they backed during the primaries are still standing. 

Most candidates have web pages and social media sites, but the information there can take a little deciphering.

For example, take the issue of taxes: If you see a candidate saying something like “the state should live within its means,” then that candidate probably would prioritize spending cuts over increased taxes.

On the other hand, if a candidate's website says something like “the state should make sure the tax system is fair and everyone pays their fair share,” then it’s probably safe to say that candidate wants to reconsider some tax breaks, like the income tax exemption for certain types of businesses in Kansas.

Always read the fine print.
Credit kspostcarding.tumblr.com

Most Kansans have also seen political mailers arrive in their mailbox by this time of year. The claims made on those postcards are often best taken with a grain of salt.

But, the fine print showing who paid for a mailer can be useful.

It's safe to say that if a group is touting a candidate, or slamming their opponent, that group expects the candidate to be in line with them on major issues. Look back at the positions of those endorsing organizations.