Kansas elections: What you need to know


by Jason M. Licenced by Adobe

Now More Than Ever: the 2020 election cycle is shaping up to be an incredibly important event in our nation’s history. Be sure you’re among those who participate and make a mark this November.

On Nov. 3, citizens in Kansas will have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election to help decide the next president along with a number of other positions.

Many Kansans see the presidential race as being of greater importance, but the local races are just as significant, if not more so, according to some on campus.

“This is probably the most important election in our lives in regards to so much… such as, the federal elections, but more specifically, the local and state elections,” said Wyatt Carter, a political science major.

In addition to voting for the president, Kansas will be voting for a new member of the House of Representatives and the Senate located in Washington D.C. Positions that will appear on Kansas ballots in November include seats in the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, the State Senate, the House of Representatives and the Kansas State Board of Education.

According to political science professor Grant Armstrong, voting is a luxury that most Americans take for granted.
“We are living in a Democratic Society where we can vote our leaders in, and also kick them out of office,” said Armstrong. “This isn’t the case in every country, and those that may allow voting may not always be free, or fair.”

Even though the President is the highest elected office in the U.S., locally elected government positions are very important to local citizens. Duties of the governor, the mayor, and members of the city council and the house and senate are more on the forefront of people’s minds. These officials create legislation that greatly affects the everyday lives of many.

“A lot of times we forget that we interact with something that is the result of local government policy,” said Armstrong. “Turning on the faucet to take a shower in the morning, keeping your streets clear of potholes, and operating the local police department all fall under local government.”

Emily Unruh, a senior studying political science, said that voting is a unique privilege. She believes that many people do not understand how to vote, or why it is so important.

“Voter suppression is a big issue this year with mail-in ballots, long lines at voting places, and conspiracy theories. There’s a shockingly high amount of things that prevent people from voting,” said Unruh.

Carter also acknowledged the necessity for voting this year, especially considering the aftermath of the government’s response to the coronavirus.

“The federal response to this crisis has been incompetent since the beginning,” said Carter. “Many state and local government officials were in bad spots due to this. It was left to them to pick up the slack when the federal government failed.”

Each person’s ballot in November will look a bit different. For those living in the Topeka area, the following positions will appear:

Kansas senior state senator, Pat Roberts has been representing our state in Congress since 1997. He is retiring and opening up his position for someone new. The race for his seat is one of the hottest ballot slots in Kansas, as Barbara Bollier(D), Roger Marshall(R), and Jason Buckley(L) compete. According to a Civiqs survey, Marshall is polling at 50% while Bollier is at 43% with an additional at 7% undecided.

Four seats in the House of Representatives will also be up for grabs in November. Topekans will be casting votes for one of three candidates: Michelle De La Isla(D), Jacob LaTurner(R) and Robert Garrard(L).

Kansas Senate, District 19 will be on the ballot. Voters can choose either Anthony Hensley(D) or Rick Kloos(R). The Kansas House of Representatives, District 57 position is between John Alcala(D) and Michael Martin(R).

A variety of judges will appear on the ballot, all incumbents. A Kansas Supreme Court Justice will be on the ballot as well.

Ann Mah(D) is running for the Kansas State Board of Education, District 4 with no opposition.

For more information on polls, places to vote, or ballot choices, refer to: www.ballotopedia.org Washburn’s information is here: www.washburn.edu/wuvotes

“This is the most important vote of our lives,” said Carter. “We live in a very detrimental time…and need to take action.”

Edited by Abbie Barth, Jason M.