Voting in today’s election?
By The Herald Staff | 8/4/2014
Without a presidential showdown on the horizon in November, Franklin County could see lower voter turnout today at the polls.
Today’s party primary features numerous county, state and federal offices up for election — including notable contested races for sheriff, Kansas House District 59 and U.S. Senate — but how many residents actually will cast ballots remains up in the air, election officials said.
Voting totals could be similar to 2010, the most recent mid-term election season, when only 3,777 votes (of more than 17,000 registered voters) were cast in the county during the party primaries, according to the Franklin County Clerk’s Office, which administers local elections. That election paved the way for Republican Sam Brownback’s election as governor in November, along with Kris Kobach as Kansas secretary of state and Derek Schmidt as Kansas attorney general.
Turnout increased, however, in 2012, when a presidential showdown between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney loomed ahead. The party primaries in Franklin County drew 5,332 votes, advancing Republicans Blaine Finch, Kevin Jones and Caryn Tyson to the general election, and ultimately to seats in the Kansas Statehouse. Again, the primaries set the stage for general election victories in many top races.
As of midday Monday, 305 advance votes had been cast through walk-ins at the clerk’s office and 129 votes had been cast using mail-in advanced voting, the office said.
Kobach, in his capacity as the state’s top election official, announced last week his prediction of a 22-percent turnout of registered voters throughout Kansas for the primary election. Of the 1.73 million Kansans registered to vote, Kobach said he expects about 381,790 voters at the polls. Nearly 40,000 advance ballots already had been received by his office.
Kobach compared the coming primary election to the 2008 election that saw 22.45 percent voter turnout. Although his past three predictions for primaries were less than 20 percent, the actual turnout reached more than 22 percent in 2008, 2010 and 2012, with 2010 seeing 25.2 percent in the primary, according to Kobach’s office.
In the past decade, the highest turnout for the primary election was 2004 with 30 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. The 2010 primary election was the second-highest turnout for the state, though not Franklin County.