Kansas primary vote could be record-breaking for turnout

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 4:08 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - Historically, voter turnout for primary elections is far lower than for general elections. However, that will likely be different in Kansas in August. That’s because Amendment 2 is on the ballot; the first vote on abortion rights since Roe vs. Wade was overturned last month.

If you drive through Kansas, you’ll see the signs — ”Vote No,” “Value them Both,” or “Value her Choice” — that are for and against the amendment. There are often competing views on the same block.

There’s no doubt that people have strong feelings on the issue. Election officials are expecting voters will show up in support of those feelings.

Voter turnout in Johnson County, Kansas, for a primary is typically 20-30%. However, election officials believe the numbers for this primary will be more like a general election.

“So, we are forecasting — it’s not a prediction but a forecast in terms of planning and resources — a 66% voter turnout rate,” said Fred Sherman with the Johnson County Election Board.

That translates to 300,000 votes cast in the county, which would be more than the 2016 general election.

Wyandotte County is also preparing for high turnout.

Average turnout for primaries in Wyandotte County is about 25% of registered voters. They are planning for a 60% turnout, but realistically expect a 40-45% turnout.

In Kansas, the deadline for registering for the Aug. 2 primary is July 12. You have three ways to vote: in person, by mail, or advance voting. Advance in-person voting opens in Johnson County on July 16. There will be nine locations open initially, with seven additional locations opening July 23.

Just to be clear, a “no” vote on Amendment 2 means the voter wants to keep abortion rights as part of the Kansas constitution. A “yes” vote means the voter agrees with removing that right from the constitution and letting lawmakers pass legislation that could restrict abortion further.

The Kansas question is garnering immense attention nationally. Kansas is the first state to vote on an abortion question since the Supreme Court decision last month. Money is pouring in on both sides. Pro-choice proponents are getting money form a group in Denver. Pro-life proponents are getting money from churches throughout the region and a huge nationwide backer. The Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life American has donated $1.3 million.

Both sides are doing door-to-door canvassing. Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas even hit the streets in Kansas over the weekend and acknowledged the importance of Kansas.