Tuesday is Primary Election Day.
It is the time for Republicans and Democrats to pick favorites to represent their respective parties in the November general election.
Kansas primaries, particularly in Douglas County, tend to draw relatively few of total eligible voters to the polls.
Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh predicts small statewide turnout, despite this being a presidential election year. Typically, presidential years bring about better registration and turnout than occurs in off-year elections. But of 1.5 million Kansas voters, Thornburgh predicts only 487,000 will mark ballots.
Registration in Douglas County is down slightly from 1996 primary time, with 46,522 voters registered. If recent election trends continue, more than two thirds of those registered here will ignore the polls and the most basic obligation of active citizenship. In Douglas County, the democratic boast of majority rule grows more hollow with each election, despite changes in mail and advance voting procedures aimed at increasing voter participation.
In 1994, Douglas County turnout was the lowest of any county in Kansas. In 1996, fewer than 30 percent of those registered here bothered to vote. In 1998, only 24 percent cared enough to cast ballots.
This primary, there is little evidence voters will be any less apathetic, though there are several contested races that invite interest. There have been lively campaigns waged by the GOP candidates in the 3rd Congressional District race. A pending retirement in the 47th Kansas House District has produced Democratic and Republican primary contests. Even the Wakarusa Township treasurer's job is sought by two Republican candidates.
For those who will vote, the Journal-World today on pages 4A and 5A offers thumbnail biographies of the candidates in Douglas County races and brief descriptions of their stands on key issues for the offices they seek. Also included are lists and positions of candidates vying in Kansas Senate and House primaries in the adjoining counties of Jefferson, Franklin and Leavenworth.
Candidates in races without opposition are not included in this pre-election package.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the various locations.
Advance voting will be possible from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at the Douglas County
Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets.
Independent voters may vote in the primaries, if they are willing to declare a party affiliation when they arrive at the polling station.