What would Jesus do? He would vote.
That's the message from three Protestant leaders, who are urging their 225,000 Kansas members to vote Tuesday in the primaries.
"This is something every Christian ought to do," said Scott Jameson Jones, bishop of the United Methodist Church-Kansas area. "It's part of your Christian life; it's part of your Christian responsibility."
In addition to Jones, Bishop Gerald Mansholt of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Right Rev. Dean Wolfe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, are telling their church members that voting will help ensure the quality of leadership.
The leaders don't endorse candidates but urge Kansans to take their responsibility to vote seriously.
"We care about public education, therefore who serves on the state school board and in the Legislature matters," Jones said. "We care about poverty and children, so how the state funds social services matters."
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius also urged Kansans to get to the polls.
"It's critically important that people participate," she said. "There are important choices to make, both on the Republican and Democratic side."
REPUBLICAN BALLOT U.S. House of Representatives, District 3 (East Lawrence) Chuck Ahner Thomas Scherer Scott Schwab Paul V. Showen Governor/Lieutenant Governor Jim Barnett/Susan Wagle Ken Canfield/Kathe Decker Rex Crowell/Brian D. Shepherd Dennis Hawver/Bret D. Landrith Robin Jennison/Dennis Wilson Timothy Pickell/Jeffrey A. McCalmon Richard Rodewald/Helen D. Kanzig Secretary of State Kay O'Connor Ron Thornburgh Commissioner of Insurance Eric Carter Sandy Praeger DEMOCRATIC BALLOT Secretary of State Robert Beattie David Haley State Board of Education District 1 (East Douglas County) Jesse L. Hall Janet Waugh
But even with such exhortations, most Kansas voters are expected to stay away from the polls Tuesday.
Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh predicted a primary turnout of 23 percent, or less than one in four eligible voters.
The small number of contested primary races and campaigns lacking much fire have turned this election day into a yawner.
"It's hard to put lipstick on this pig," Thornburgh said.
Thornburgh said voters shouldn't avoid the primaries and vote only in the general election.
"I would assume most voters would want a nominee that stands for what they stand for," he said. "There is a great need to show up and express your support for the candidate of your choice. I don't understand the thinking, 'I'm going to pass it up and let someone else decide for me.'"
Also in Kansas, many races are decided in the Republican Party primary.
"In Kansas, where one party is dominant, the primary determines it, so not to vote in the primary means you have really lost your opportunity to determine the ultimate outcome," said Jones, the Methodist leader.
There are 1.6 million registered voters in Kansas, a 3.5 percent increase from two years ago. Of those, 46 percent are registered Republican, 27 percent are unaffiliated and 26 percent are Democrats.
Thornburgh predicted 38 percent of Republicans would vote and 18 percent of Democrats. Both Jones and Thornburgh say many voters are apathetic because they feel disconnected from the government or are put off by hard-edged political fighting.
But Jones urged voters to try to take a long-term view when analyzing the candidates.
"It's not about the latest scandal or the latest hot-button issue, it's really about good government," he said.
Election 2006 - Kansas races
More on the 2006 Elections in Kansas
- 6News video: Low turnout may result in new primary election date (08-30-06)
- 6News video: Candidate speaks at university forum (08-30-06)
- 6News video: Evolution supporters will hold board majority (08-02-06)
- 6News video: Snag-free night for primaries (08-02-06)
- 6News video: County puts new voting machines to test (08-01-06)
- 6News video: Praeger holds up over opponent (08-01-06)
- Low turnout prompts call for new primary date (08-31-06)
- Publisher blasts candidate for illegally stuffing newspapers (08-04-06)
- Election hailed as pro-evolution (08-03-06)
- New voting machines perform well on first test (08-03-06)
- Barnett wins GOP bid to take on Sebelius (08-02-06)
- Voter turnout among lowest in memory (08-02-06)
- Eudora takes plunge on pool (08-02-06)
- Praeger prevails in 'negative' contest (08-02-06)
- Primary election results
- See how the voting went in select races
- Campaign finance reports
- Statewide office
- Board of Education
- Election 2006 - Kansas races