The Unaffiliated Vote

This article includes a correction to the information sent out originally. The primary opponents in District 19 are Stephanie Clayton (R) and Jennifer Flood (R).

The first deadline in the election season is rapidly approaching. June 30 (a week from this Monday) is the last day to change your party affiliation before the primaries on August 5.

While each party excludes the other from voting in their primary contests, both are required by law to allow Unaffiliated voters (the third party affiliation option in KS) to declare a party and vote at the primaries on election day. This allows the Unaffiliated voter to vote in either primary contest, and preserves that voter's right to be represented by their elected officials.

There has been a lot written and discussed about "party switching" or "strategic voting." At MainStream, we will never encourage anyone to vote against their values just to try to "game" the election system. There's scant evidence that this works (whatever excuses Cantor's pollster is slinging about his poor predictions). Even if it did work, we would not support such a strategy.

But, MainStream will always support a voter's right to have a choice in who represents them in government.

Having only one candidate to choose among, or worse, no candidate, is tantamount to being told who you'll vote for. Even if neither candidate matches exactly what a voter believes, one will represent that voter better than the other. We call this "rational voting." Explore the issues, examine the candidates, and make a choice that matches your values. At every opportunity, vote for the candidate that will best represent you. Vote as often as you are allowed, to better ensure your voice is heard. The joke about "voting early and often" actually applies here.

Not everyone gets to vote

That brings us to the Primaries on August 5th. This is the first chance for a voter's voice to be heard. Or is it?

According to the Secretary of State's Office, of thirty-eight KS House races in Johnson, Wyandotte, and Douglas Counties:

  • 29, or 76% of the races, present the primary voters with no choices
  • 8 races present a choice on only one side of the primary
  • Just 1 primary contest offers a choice to voters of both parties

In fact, in seven of those twenty-nine races, only one candidate from any party bothered to file. Those seven candidates will sail through the primaries and the general election unopposed. No voter in those districts will have the opportunity to choose their representative.

That leaves only nine primaries where some voters will get to exercise their rights.

The best Primary race is in District 16 in Lenexa and Overland Park. There, two Democrats (Easterwood and McGuire) and three Republicans (Grosserode, Haines, and Marshall) are vying for votes. The registered voters in that district can explore the issues, examine the candidates, and then make an informed choice about who will stand for them in the general election.

But in the other eight races, only the voters of one party get to make a choice about their representation in Topeka. Everyone else has to take the candidate chosen for them... or do they?

Unaffiliated voters can vote in those eight Primaries, too.

The Unaffiliated voters can examine the issues and the candidates, and choose the Republican or Democrat who best represents them. Then in November, they can choose between that candidate, and the other one who ran unopposed in the primary.

This is about exercising your right to be represented. 

These are the nine Districts in Johnson, Wyandotte, and Douglas Counties with contested primaries

  • 8 - Craig McPherson (R) vs. Stacey Schlimmer (R)
  • 16 - Arthena Easterwood (D) vs. Don McGuire (D), and Amanda Grosserode (R) vs. Jameia Haines (R) vs. Ray Marshall (R)
  • 19 - Stephanie Clayton (R) vs. Jennifer Flood (R)
  • 21 - Dr. Barbara Bollier (R) vs. Neil Melton (R)
  • 30 - Ron Worley (R) vs. Randy Powell (R)
  • 42 - Harold Fevurly (D) vs. Austin Harris (D)
  • 45 - Tom Sloan (R) vs. Jeremy Pierce (R)
  • 46 - Abbie Hodgson (D) vs. Dennis Highberger (D)
  • 49 - J.H. Wilson (R) vs. Scott Schwab (R)

How to change party affiliation

If you wish to change your party affiliation, to Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated, so that you may exercise your right to vote in the KS Primaries on August 5, do one of these:

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Showing 3 reactions

commented 2014-06-21 22:38:00 -0500
The Kansas Legislature did pass a law this year (HB 2210) to make changing party affiliation impossible after the candidate filing deadline. But they neglected to indicate when this would begin, and as a result, it does not begin until the default date, in the new legislative year, July 1. Therefore, June 30 is the final date to change party affiliation, this year. In future years, the deadline will, indeed, be the candidate filing date.
commented 2014-06-21 21:25:01 -0500
PS very few folks really understood the Cantor loss. He tried to replace the District and several county party chairmen with his hand picked choices and lost 5 of 7. This really chapped those county chairmen and they mobilized their street soldiers to make a huge push for Brat. Immigration had little to do with it. Religion had nothing to do with it. Cantor learned the hard way – you don’t screw with the folks. A number of other candidates around the country would do well to take this message to heart.
commented 2014-06-21 21:20:11 -0500
This is very bad information.

You may not change your party affiliation any time after the closing of candidate filing. If you are unaffiliated you may choose a party or if you are unregistered you may register and choose a party. I think the only three parties recognized in KS are the Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians – if you are one of those you had to switch by noon on June 2.

So no more messin’ with the other guy’s primary. Sorry.
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