Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs is predicting a less than 20-percent voter turn-out for Tuesday’s primary election.
Biggs has estimated that only 19 percent of registered voters will turn out which amounts to about 324,000 of the state’s 1.7 million voters reporting to the polls.
“I am encouraged to see more and more Kansans registering to vote, and I am hopeful that each of them will make their voice heard at the polls,” Biggs said in a press conference in Topeka.
Biggs blames the poor turnout on a lack of local issues and candidates for state-level races. But, he said, the number of advanced ballots already cast does provide some positive news.
“Advance voting is an increasing trend,” said Biggs. “For those who can’t make it to the polls on Election Day or for those who simply want the convenience of voting on their own time, the availability of advance voting helps to increase turnout.”
As of 8 a.m. Friday, 80,494 advance ballots had been mailed, 49,381 had been returned, and 12,423 additional ballots had been cast at satellite voting locations.
The number of national-level contested races is larger than is past elections with means voters involved in those elections can help push turn out numbers higher than expected.
“You have to go back more than ten years – to 1996 – to find a highly contested primary for the U.S. Senate,” Biggs said. “And you have to go back more than 15 years – to 1994 – to find as many open congressional seats.”