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Excluded Independent Voters Vastly Outnumber Total Primary Turnout in Kansas

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

There are more registered independent voters in the state of Kansas than the total number of voters who participated in the August 7 closed primary elections.

There are 1.8 million registered voters in Kansas. Nearly a third of these voters could not participate in the primary elections, while about a quarter of total registered voters actually participated.

Let's put this in perspective and look at the top-ticket election in the state -- the race for governor.

When Only Partisans Vote, Only Partisans Are Elected

As of this writing, with 100% of precincts reporting, a little over 460,000 Kansans (a quarter of the registered electorate) voted in the Republican AND Democratic governor's races combined.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, who holds a slim lead over Republican rival Jeff Coyler, is at 126,257 votes. That is not only nowhere close to a majority victory (40.6% of total Republican votes), it is 7% of the total registered voting population.

Even if Coyler wins in the re-count, which is being conducted by Kobach, the figures don't change much.

The Democratic winner, Laura Kelly, took just under 79,000 votes. Or, a mere 4 percent of the total registered voting population.

Yet, the media will continue to focus on these two candidates as the preeminent choices in this election while ignoring the voters and candidates who were not allowed to participate in the primaries, and thus were not allowed to have their voices heard.

Not only that, candidates outside the major parties are dismissed as spoilers.

Who do these major party candidates represent? The people of the state? The whole party? Or the increasingly small base of voters that participate in the primaries.

Photo Credit: iQoncept /

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