FAIRWAY — Very few Kansas voters seem likely to head to the polls Tuesday.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach predicts only about 18 percent of Kansas’ 1.7 million registered voters, or about 300,000 of them, will vote in statewide primary elections Tuesday. That would be the lowest turnout since 2006.
Voting is expected to be even lighter in some of Kansas’ major cities, say election commissioners watching advance and mail-in voting done so far.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman recently estimated that turnout in Wichita might be less than 39,000 voters, or about 15 percent, of the 265,000 registered in the county.
About 17 percent, or 63,000, of Johnson County‘s 372,000 registered voters, from the sprawling suburbs southwest of Kansas City, Mo., are expected to cast ballots, said Brian Newby, the county’s election commissioner.
“We don’t have any marquee races to bring people out,” Newby said.
Even though some fiercely contested Kansas House and Senate races are being run in Johnson County, this year lacks any big county or congressional district races to lure large numbers of voters to the polls, he said.
“The highest office for which we have a contest is county sheriff,” Newby said.
Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth Hensley Dieter predicts about 33,000 voters, or 31 percent of the 107,000 registered in that county will vote Tuesday.
“We have a lot of state employees living in and around Topeka who vote, especially in state elections,” she said. “Typically, the turnout is about 34 percent for an election like this one, so we’re running a little below average.”
The expected lower than average turnouts mask the intensity of some of the races, particularly in Republican primaries for Kansas House and Senate seats. About 44 percent, or 748,000, of Kansas’ 1.7 million voters are registered Republicans, who’ve carried nearly every presidential election and most state elections for decades. The remainder are registered as Democrats, third-party members and independents, who often lack enough candidates even to fill a ballot.