elections

For years, political polling told us who was  likely to vote and how, but the cell phone complicated all that. With fewer people answering — or even owning — land-line numbers, polls became less reliable. A Chicago start-up is changing that tradition, and finding success.

Guest:

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Thousands of people in Kansas have incomplete voter registrations, which means they haven’t been able to vote. They were caught up in the state’s requirement that some people provide citizenship documents when registering. Now, a federal appeals court says many of those people should be allowed to vote in federal elections.

Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has pushed for the more stringent voter registration rules to ensure security in elections, but voter advocacy groups say the cost has been too high.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

 A new statewide poll suggests that political change could be in the air in Kansas.

The poll by John Zogby Strategies shows 71 percent of voters surveyed gave low ratings on how the state is performing its duties.

The survey included 433 registered voters in Kansas from June 4-6, 2016 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent. Political analyst John Zogby released the findings during a Kansas Health Foundation symposium in Wichita on Friday.

Zogby says the research suggests that Kansans might feel betrayed, especially when it comes to state policy issues.

Frances Burnett, 91, switched her party registration from Democrat to Republican so she could vote in the Senate District 34 primary for Ed Berger.
Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

For the first time in more than 30 years, there’s a Democrat running in every Kansas Senate district. But their fellow left-leaning Kansans might not be voting for them in August.

That’s because some are so fed up with Gov. Sam Brownback, they’d rather switch parties to vote for a moderate Republican in the primary than allow the governor’s supporters to stay in the Legislature.

A lifelong resident of Arlington, Kansas, 91-year-old Francis Burnett laughs when asked if she’s a Democrat.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

A Kansas senator says a highway project in his district is back on schedule, drawing protests from Democrats who say Republican Gov. Sam Brownback picked that project over others to help a political ally in an election year.

The project to widen U.S. Highway 69 north of Pittsburg from two lanes to four was one of 25 delayed in April to help balance the state budget.

It sits in the district of Republican Sen. Jake LaTurner, who sent an open letter to Brownback decrying the delay.

Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The stage is set for what many believe could be a pivotal 2016 election season in Kansas.

With campaigns for all 165 seats in the Legislature, the opportunity for change is reflected in the roster of candidates certified by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after Wednesday’s filing deadline.

Precincts.info

Candidates running for office this fall could, in theory, call up a veritable army of support. For each party in every voting precinct there’s a position for one committeeman and one committeewoman. Across Kansas, that would add up to roughly 14,000 precinct captains. But, most of the positions are likely to be left vacant for the 2016 elections.

Lori Graham is a first-time candidate running for state Senate in District 27.

She’s been knocking on doors in northwest Wichita since January. Right now it’s just her, a handful of volunteers, and list of Republican voters.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Congressman Kevin Yoder says it remains to be seen if Kansans will back presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in November.

Though Yoder has endorsed Trump, he waited to do so until after Ted Cruz and other candidates had dropped out of the race.

“My position is I support the nominee,” says Yoder.

Yoder says while Trump wasn’t his first choice, he doesn’t think Hillary Clinton reflects Kansas values.

Courtesy U.S. Department of Justice

While giving him two more weeks to comply, a federal judge let Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach know that she would brook no further delays in carrying out her order to restore 18,000 Kansas residents to the voter rolls.

In a harshly worded order Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson rejected Kobach’s claim that compliance with the court’s May 17 order would cause voter confusion and lead to “irreparable harm.”

Kobach did not return a call seeking comment.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr - CC

June 1 is the last day party-affiliated voters can change their registration in Kansas before the August 2 primary.

But the Executive Director of the Kansas Democratic Party, Kerry Gooch, says he’s more focused on registering unaffiliated voters.

“I think Democrats should vote for Democrats in the primary, and I think Republicans should vote for Republicans in the primary,” Gooch says.

Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republicans, expressed similar sentiments about party-switching in an email.

AP pool photo

The Senate race in Kansas isn't expected to be competitive and the governor isn't on the ballot this fall. So, the hardest fought statewide campaign might just involve four people you’ve never heard of.

For the first time ever there will be a coordinated effort to oust state Supreme Court justices.

The bad blood between the state Supreme Court and conservatives in Kansas goes back ten years to when the justices ordered the state to pump more than $500 million dollars more into public education.

Conservative Republican Sen. Forrest Knox faces voters in Gridley, Kansas.
Jim McLean / KHI News Service

The 2016 election could be a tough one for some Kansas lawmakers hoping to return to the Statehouse.

Polls, editorials and reader comments on news websites indicate that voters are paying attention to what’s happening in Topeka, and many don’t like what they’re seeing.

In the latest development in a long-standing disagreement between Kansas election officials and the federal Election Assistance Commission, a judge in Kansas has ruled that the state can't require people to show proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote at a motor vehicle office.

Jeffrey Locke, a teacher from Satanta, stands to argue for his motion to add support for the death penalty to the Kansas Republican Party platform.
Andy Marso / KHI News Service

Kansas Republicans voted Saturday to leave support for the death penalty out of their party platform. It was the most contentious of the issues Republicans took up at their state convention in Topeka in anticipation of this year’s elections, which will decide the fate of all 125 House seats and 40 Senate seats in the state legislature.

bigstock.com

The Johnson County Election Office is coming up short on polling places to use come November.

Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker says he’s anticipating record-high turnout, possibly with more Kansans voting than in 2008.

“We would like to have 285 polling locations throughout our county,” Metsker says. “Right now we’re at about 195.”

Metsker says concerns about safety and security have crossed many places off his list.

Wikimedia Commons - CC

Did U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Brian Newby's recently unearthed emails with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violate federal rules? 

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Allied Progress alleges they did and now wants the EAC's Inspector General to dig further into the matter. 

Two days after the primary vote in Missouri, Sen. Bernie Sanders has conceded defeat to Hillary Clinton.

The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon that Sanders says he will not seek a recount of results in the state's Democratic primary. Clinton has a narrow lead of 1,531 votes.

In an interview with the AP, Sanders said it's unlikely the results will affect the awarding of delegates in the state and he would "prefer to save the taxpayers of Missouri some money."

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

From the Country Club District to Midtown, Independence to the West Side, to east of Prospect and north of the river, Kansas Citians on the Missouri side were voting at the crack of dawn today.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. Shelly Freeman entered her polling place at Country Club Christian Church in the dark, thanks to daylight savings time.

"Every election is important," she says. "As a woman we had to fight to get the vote."

She sees this year as exceptional — not necessarily because of the unusual level of hostile rhetoric between the candidates.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Just a day after canceling a rally in Chicago due to violence and unrest, GOP front-runner Donald Trump came to the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in downtown Kansas City on Saturday to try to boost his chances of winning Missouri's Republican primary.

Ballots
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

When Missouri voters go to the polls in next Tuesday’s presidential preference primary, they might be surprised by their choices — mainly how many there are.

Not happy with the big-name candidates? You have alternatives.

How about a convicted felon from Texas? He will be on the Democratic ballot. Or maybe a grandfather from Illinois who announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in a video shot in his kitchen? A Libertarian from Texas who ran for Missouri Secretary of State in 2004 under a different name?

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Stumping for his wife in Kansas City Friday, former President Bill Clinton drew a laugh when he said it had been an interesting election for both parties – albeit for different reasons.

“I like our reasons better,” he said.

Bill Clinton praised Hillary Clinton and her challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for sticking to the issues. He said that while the Democratic contenders agree on many points, they differ on how to achieve those goals.

“You don’t get anywhere dismissing your opponents as being opposed to the revolution,” he said.

Undecided on your candidates this election? There's an app for that. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk voter "matchmaking" apps, new technology and how candidates are using different platforms to reach citizens.

Guests:

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he’s the only presidential candidate who can block Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination.  

During a rally at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park on Wednesday evening, Cruz lambasted Obamacare and business regulations, characterizing them as huge drains on the economy.  

The variety of candidates running for President means lots of choices for the electorate.  So, what factors influence our vote? From party affiliation to electability, we look at what considerations play into our voting decisions.

Guests:

  • Patrick Miller is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas.
  • Robert Rowland is a professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas.
Justin Grimes / Flickr--CC

Update, 9:15 a.m. Tuesday: this post was updated after Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced they will visit Kansas later this week.

OK, Kansas. Your turn.

Come Saturday, Kansans will have their chance to weigh in on the presidential hopefuls.

Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, called it “a presidential Saturday” because this year both parties will caucus on the same day.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Thousands of Kansas Citians crowded Bartle Hall Wednesday afternoon in support of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who visited just before state caucuses in Kansas and primary in Missouri.

Phil Roeder / Flickr--CC

Kansas hasn’t gone Democratic in a U.S. Presidential election in more than 50 years, but ahead of his visit to Kansas City Wednesday, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told KCUR he thinks he’ll do well in the state’s caucuses on March 5.

“Sometimes to be a Democrat in a conservative state means that you are pretty progressive because you’ve got to stand up to the tide there,” says Sanders. “So we think we have a chance to do very, very well in Kansas.”

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio less than three weeks before the Kansas Republican presidential caucus.

Brownback called Rubio “a true conservative who can unite the party.” Brownback’s son-in-law also works for the Rubio campaign.

Patrick Miller, a University of Kansas political science professor, says Brownback holds some sway with evangelical voters, and that could give Rubio a boost in a divided Republican field.

It's official — the much-anticipated Iowa Caucuses have begun and voters around the country will be watching closely for the results this evening. We check in with reporters, political analysts and Kansas Citians who made the trip to Iowa to join the party.

Guests:

Denise Cross / Flickr-cc

Wyandotte County, Kansas, is one of only two counties in the country where three different ethnic groups — Black, Hispanic and White — each make up more than 25 percent of the population.

How residents feel about that diversity though, is about as diverse as the county itself. 

For some, the medley of different ethnicities in the county has given them a unique perspective on life and opened their eyes to other cultures.

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