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My voice is my vote


My voice is my vote

The 2012 elections are just around the corner! Coming up soon will be primary elections in Kansas. The scheduled date for the primary election in Kansas is August 7th with the last day to register to vote being July 17th. These dates could possibly change since Redistricting is not completed in Kansas.

Our story in Kansas is about the internal warfare within the Republican Party. Most observers will tell you that the Administration and the State House of Representatives are firmly under the control of hard-right conservatives who want to continue their efforts to reduce funding for public education, roll back teacher and worker rights.

The only thing currently standing between our public schools and their agenda of de-funding state services is a coalition of traditional Republican and moderate Democratic Senators. They know that and so have specifically targeted those traditional Republicans for defeat in the August primaries.

To read what the Topeka Capital-Journal reported on the Republican internal warfare and how it will play out in the August elections, click here.

This is a big deal for any Kansans interested in preserving our quality of life, the strength of our communities, and our highly successful public schools. The decision about which path Kansas takes in the future is dependent on who shows up to vote in those August Republican primaries.

Who can vote in a primary election is a function partly of law and partly of Party rules. In Kansas, Party rules dominate and the two Parties operate very differently when it comes to who can vote in the primary.

Democrats — who rarely have challengers to their incumbents — have an “open primary.” Any registered voter can vote in the Democratic primary simply by changing party registration to Democrat on or before Election Day. Registered Republican and Unaffiliated (Independent) voters can fill out a registration form at the poll on Election Day and get a Democratic ballot.

Republicans — where these days there are many incumbents facing challenges — have a “closed primary.” To vote in the Republican primary, you must be registered as a Republican by the registration deadline which is the 21st day before any election. This year that would be July 17th.

Given the registration advantage that Republicans have over Democrats in Kansas, it is not surprising that many elections are decided in the August primaries. In many districts the Republican nominee will likely win. This means that unaffiliated and Democratic voters are very limited in the influence they can have on who will be their Representative or Senator. The reality is that, while it might feel good to register your disgust with both parties by registering as an unaffiliated voter, it dramatically reduces the influence of your vote in the election.

If you want your vote to have a greater influence this year, then we would urge you to consider your registration and participation in the primary election in August. If you live in a district that will likely elect a Republican in the general election, wouldn’t it be nice to have a say in which Republican that will be? If you want that voice, you will need to be a registered Republican by July 17, 2012.

An article in the Hays Daily News says that “an all-out war brews within the state's Republican Party” and discusses what that war means for public policy. To read what they had to say, click here.

 

If you are not registered to vote or would like to change your voter registration, click here to get a voter registration form.


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