Topeka A record low 18.2 percent voter turnout in the Aug. 1 primaries has officials looking at possibly moving the primary date.
"We can't ignore the horrendous turnout from this last primary," Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh said today.
"It's time to at least look at the date when Kansans cast their primary votes," Thornburgh said.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius echoed his concern about the low turnout.
"I'm a big believer that democracy is not a spectator sport, and we need people to be engaged and be involved because these decisions are very critical," Sebelius said.
Thornburgh, Sebelius and Eric Rucker, who is Atty. Gen. Phill Kline's chief of staff, met as the State Board of Canvassers. The board certified the results of the Aug. 1 primary.
The primaries saw 298,972 out of 1,646,987 registered voters cast ballots. The 18.2 percent participation rate was far below the previous record low turnout of 26 percent in 2002. Douglas County had the third lowest turnout in the state at 12.2 percent.
Thornburgh said his office would give serious consideration to recommending a change in the primary election date.
But, he said, the low turnout was driven by the low number of contested races, and lack of much television campaigning.
Sebelius said she would consider changing the date of the primary because "Aug. 1 is not a great time to find people at home."
She said she hoped more Kansans would vote in the Nov. 7 general election, and that the state's advance voting law makes it easier for citizens to cast ballots.