Kobach Predicts Low Voter Turnout In Tuesday's Primary

By: Giang Nguyen Email
By: Giang Nguyen Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he hopes he's mistaken, but history suggests, the upcoming primary election might be a low priority for most voters.

"We are predicting relatively low turnout in the August 7th primary of approximately 18 percent of registered voters," he said.

Kobach cited the lack of a hotly contested race, especially statewide or national as reasons.

Voters will choose nominees for state legislature, U.S. House and State Board of Education Tuesday, as well as some local races.

"For the first time in a long time this year, we do not have any intense primary competition in any of the four congressional seats in the primaries, there is no U.S. Senate seat on the ballot this year and there are no statewide offices," he said. "While there is intense competition, it's at the state legislative level."

The number one driver of turnout, he said, is a hotly contested rate higher up at the top of the ticket.

This is also the first primary in which voters must show a photo ID.

Kobach disagreed that the controversial new law might suppress turnout.

"Because we're doing this 'Got Voter ID' campaign that's reminding people that's reminding people there's an election, that's increasing awareness of the coming election a little bit. So that's probably elevating voter turnout," he said.

"You probably have some voters who are anxious to see how the law works and maybe some voters who are excited about the new law and want to participate. So I think the photo ID law is probably elevating voter turnout slightly."

Kobach said the newly drawn redistricting maps might be more of a factor, driving vote turnout in the oppposite direction. "There are many voters now who don't know whose district they're in," he said. "And when there's a lack of information, there's probably going to be a lack of interest."

45,000 advance ballots have been cast by Thursday. Kobach's office expects another 60-65,000 to be cast, with a total of 310,000 voting in the primary.

On the issue of voter identification, Kobach also said his office is allowing Douglas County to proceed with issuing its own photo ID cards for voters.

The secretary urged voters to get out and vote and to remember to bring their photo IDs.

Visit www.gotVoterID.com for a list of acceptable forms of photo identification.

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