Kansas Democrats urging voters to mail ballots amid pandemic

photo by: Associated Press

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TOPEKA — Kansas Democratic Party officials are encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail for the presidential primary amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The party still plans to hold its primary on May 2, The Kansas City Star reported. Primaries in some states have been postponed, including Ohio and Georgia.

Mail-in ballots will be sent to registered Democrats in late March and voters will have until April 24 to postmark and return them, the party said in a Tuesday statement.

Voters can pick either remaining Democratic candidate Vice President Joe Biden or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to face President Donald Trump in November. Trump clinched the Republican Party nomination, surpassing the necessary delegate threshold.

Political parties run presidential primaries in Kansas, allowing Democrats to make any necessary changes. But Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida, says the state party is still limited by national party rules.

“So they would be subject to those restrictions,” McDonald said.

A Democratic National Committee spokesman provided a Tuesday email from Tom Perez, the national party chairman, that was sent to state party officials last week.

“We know the situation is very different in every state and do want to give state parties flexibility to change their plan to address the guidance you are getting on the ground. Ultimately, the health and safety of the voters is the number one priority,” Perez wrote.

Democratic caucuses and primaries in Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming were already to be held largely by mail this spring.

More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the pandemic continues, the Journal-World will be making coverage of COVID-19 available outside of the paywall on LJWorld.com.

Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at: ljworld.com/coronavirus/

What to do if you think you may have COVID-19

Patients who have symptoms — difficulty breathing, cough and fever — should stay home, immediately isolate themselves from others and call their health care providers. Patients should never show up unannounced at a medical office or hospital. Instead, they should call ahead to explain their symptoms and give health care workers the ability to minimize the risk to others.

If patients do not have health care providers, they may call the Lawrence Douglas-County health department’s coronavirus line, 785-856-4343.

For updated information on the outbreak, Kansas residents can email COVID-19@ks.gov or call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

More information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website or the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health website.


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