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5 things to know for Election Day in Kansas

11/6/2012

By CHRIS CLARK

Associated Press

As Kansas voters head to the polls, they will be casting ballots in the several races ranging from president to the state Board of Education. Here are five things to know about Election Day in Kansas:

1. BAD FOR CROPS, GREAT FOR VOTING

It's been dry, and while that's bad news for farmers, it's good news for the vote. Kansas residents across the state will likely head to precincts on Tuesday under sunny skies, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s in the northeast to low-70s in the southwest. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

2. WHERE ARE THE REST OF YOU?

Even with those expected pleasant conditions, Kansas officials anticipate only a 68 percent voter turnout on Tuesday. If true, it would be the smallest percentage of Kansas voters casting ballots in a general election since 2000, when turnout was 67 percent. One reason why a third of the state may be sitting this one out: the 2012 Kansas election season lacks a marquee race, such as for U.S. Senate or governor. Still, Secretary of State Kris Kobach has thrown down a challenge to voters: "Prove me wrong."

3. LOOKS ARE DECEIVING

While the state may lack a featured race for governor or Senate, many believe the 2012 election cycle could be among the most impactful for Kansans in recent history. Most eyes are on the individual races in the state Senate, where conservative Republicans are favored over Democrats and are expected to hand Gov. Sam Brownback a new level of power.

4. A DEEPER SHADE OF RED

Despite pockets of Democratic leadership over the years -- think former governors Kathleen Sebelius, Joan Finney and John Carlin -- Kansas has recently written a bold red line under its status as Republican home turf. And the math is stacked against Democrats again in 2012. The GOP is likely to take the state Senate and all four congressional seats are expected to remain Republican. The GOP also holds the governor's chair and the two U.S. Senate seats.

5. OBAMA'S FADE

Kansas Democrats were energized in 2008 when President Obama captured nearly 42 percent of the vote -- the best Kansas result for a Democratic candidate in 20 years. Now the party is back to contemplating a more familiar question: How badly will the Democratic nominee lose? Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have ignored the state, assuming that its six electoral votes belong to Romney. Many expect Kansas to deliver one of the night's most lopsided totals.