Time short for party-switchers, voters in limbo

By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News

Deadlines are approaching for residents wanting to participate in the Aug. 5 primary election.

June 30 is the last day for a registered voter affiliated with a political party to change affiliation. Republicans and Democrats may not switch parties after June 30 to obtain the opposite party's ballot. Switching to and from the Libertarian Party also is prohibited from July 1 through Aug. 30, according to the Kansas Secretary of State's office.

Party affiliation can be changed at a voter registration site. In Reno County, the Courthouse, city halls, the Hutchinson Public Library, and the driver's license office in Hutchinson.

Unaffiliated or independent voters can cast a ballot in the primary if they declare Republican or Democrat affiliation at the polling place or when they request an advance ballot.

There will not be a Libertarian ballot in the primary election. Libertarians running for office will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

July 15 is the last day for Kansans to register to vote in the primary.

As of Thursday, 477 voters were on suspense list in Reno County. Some people are on the list because they are younger than the minimum voting age of 18 years old, but the majority of the 477 have not provided proof of citizenship and are not qualified voters, according to Reno County Deputy Election Officer Jenna Fager.

Fager said the Reno County Clerk's office mails notices to voters on suspense. She said that, weekly, about three or four people supply citizenship documents -- such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport.

The state checks voter names against Kansas birth certificate records, Fager said. If they are in those records, they are removed from the suspense list, she said.

Chris Givan, Hutchinson, running in the Democratic primary in the 102nd House District, said he hasn't made a push for voters to register Democrat a major part of his campaign. His greater focus, he said, is informing people about where their precinct votes and also about the option of advance voting.

The other Democrat running in the 102nd, Brian E. Davis, Hutchinson, said he encourages people "who share the goals and values of the Democratic Party" to register as Democrat.

Two Lakin Republicans -- Rep. J. Russell Jennings and Stan Rice -- are running for the 124th House seat. No Democrat filed.

The district is predominantly Republican, Jennings said, and his campaign "is not doing anything along those lines" of urging Democrats to become Republicans for the primary.

The News was unable to reach Rice.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News