What Kansans Need to Know About the Caucuses

What Kansans Need to Know About the Caucuses
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Kansas presidential caucuses are tomorrow and there are a few things you should know before heading to the polls. It’s the only chance Kansans have to vote for who they would like to see as their party’s nominee for the general election and there are differences depending on the political party you are affiliated with.

Republicans and Democrats will have very different experiences during the Kansas caucuses. The Democratic caucus is more of an informal vote.

“It’s democracy at work, I guess, in its rawest form. And unlike a primary where you vote in private, here you publicly express your support,” says David Miller, vice chairman of the Labette County Democratic party.

Residents can register to vote or affiliate themselves with the party on site starting at 1 p.m. and everyone in line by 3 p.m. will be allowed to participate. They’ll be asked to stand in a designated area based on the candidate they support.

“We will take a head count and we will award delegates based upon the proportion at the caucus you have to have 15 percent to be viable and if the group you’re in is not viable, then you have a chance to join another group,” says Miller.

Registered Republicans will likely be more familiar with the procedures. They have to already be registered and will vote traditionally after showing a photo ID.

“Your vote is private. Who you vote for is your information and no one else’s and we want to keep it that way. We vote by secret ballot,” says Mike Howerter, chairman of the Labette County Republican party.

Both caucuses will have representatives to speak for each candidate. And despite any political differences, both parties encourage residents to participate.

“If they’re great Americans and they believe something whether they be democrat or republican they need to show up and participate,” says Howerter.

“It is the only way you can choose who you want to be on that ballot,” adds Miller.

Delegates will represent caucus voters at the National Convention. Kansas has 40 Republican delegates and 37 Democratic delegates. If you’re undecided, you can still participate. Both parties allow voters to caucus in favor of “uncommitted” delegates who would go to the convention without the obligation to support one candidate or another.

For the locations of the Republican and Democratic caucuses, click here.