Kansas’ presidential preference primary is coming up; here’s what you should know

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Kansas will depart from its typical presidential caucus format and instead hold a presidential preference primary this year.

Voting will look pretty much like our regular elections, except it’s coming up March 19 rather than later in the year and it serves a somewhat different purpose.

Tuesday, Feb. 20 is the deadline to register to vote or update your voter registration information; to change your party affiliation; or to apply for an advance ballot to vote by mail. Douglas County voters can do that at ksvotes.org.


What does it mean?

Kansas Reflector reported that the primary is expected to provide Kansas’ political parties with higher voter turnout rates, though some have expressed concern that the primary will be expensive and confusing to voters who are used to the caucus system.

The presidential preference primary can only happen with a vote by the Kansas Legislature. In 2023, a bill to hold the primary passed 86-32 in the House and 28-12 in the Senate. This is not a permanent change, though legislators could vote to do this again for a future presidential election.

Voters will not be directly selecting the party candidates.

“It is a ‘preference’ primary because it is an election where the vote totals are given to a political party to allocate delegates to candidates at the national convention,” according to the Douglas County clerk’s office.

Kansas’ Democratic and Republican parties each have 39 delegates to represent the state at the parties’ national conventions, coming up in August and July, respectively.

The only previous state-run presidential preference primaries in Kansas have been in 1980 and 1992, according to the clerk’s office.

Who can vote?

Registered voters who are affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican party may vote in the presidential primary, according to the Douglas County clerk’s office.

Voters who wish to change their affiliation to the other party must do so by Feb. 20. The Douglas County clerk’s office website links to a party affiliation change form to print and fill out; visit this link for more information.

Registered voters who have not declared an affiliation with a party may do so at any point up to and including on Election Day, according to the clerk’s office.

If you need to check your affiliation, you can do so via the Secretary of State’s Voter View website, myvoteinfo.voteks.org/voterview.

Who’s on the ballot?

Democratic candidates on the ballot are incumbent Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Jason Michael Palmer; Dean Phillips; and Marianne Williamson.

Republican candidates on the ballot are Ryan L. Binkley; Ron DeSantis; Nikki R. Haley; and Donald J. Trump.

Each ballot will also include a “None of the names shown” option, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

Candidates had to either pay a $10,000 filing fee or present a petition with 5,000 signatures of registered Kansas voters of the applicable political party.

How do I vote?

• Vote early by mail:

Douglas County voters can request an advance ballot to vote by mail through ksvotes.org. The deadline to do so is Tuesday, Feb. 20. Ballots will be mailed beginning Feb. 28. A printable form to mail to the Douglas County clerk’s office is available at this link.

Advance ballots can be mailed or dropped in one of three secure ballot boxes: the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St.; the county elections headquarters, 711 W. 23rd St.; or the county treasurer’s satellite office, 2000 W. 31st St., Suite B.

All mail ballots must be received by the elections office by 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. Ballots can be dropped at any polling place on Election Day.

• Vote early in person:

Advance voting begins Wednesday, Feb. 28. Cast your ballot in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays at the Douglas County elections headquarters, 711 W. 23rd St. (near 23rd and Louisiana streets). Voting hours will also be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 16.

The last opportunity to vote in person in advance is from 8 a.m. to noon Monday, March 18.

Voters will need a valid photo ID to cast their ballots in person.

• Vote on Election Day:

Voters should go to their regular polling places between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 to cast their ballots on Election Day.

There are some changes to regular polling places. Douglas County voters can check on their precinct’s polling location at this link.

Voters will need a valid photo ID to cast their ballots in person.

Visit this link and click the green bookmark icon to add this election to your Google, Apple, Outlook or other calendar.

What about the rest of the 2024 election?

There will be a primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and a general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The actual vote for president will be on Nov. 5.

There will be a lot of important local races on Douglas County voters’ ballots.

Check this page, lawrencekstimes.com/election2024, for more information, resources and ongoing coverage of local races.

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Note: A location in this post has been corrected.

This post is by the Lawrence Times news team.

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