Monday, August 6, 2012
The primary election is defined as a vote for parties to determine which candidates to send to the general election in November. However, this year in Sedgwick County, 12 races will actually be decided.
Kevin O'Connor and Marc Bennett are running for district attorney as Republicans. They do not have a Democrat opponent. Likewise for Republican County Commission candidates Jeff Longwell and Karl Peterjohn.
"It's going to be a really important day and it's going to affect a lot of people and I just don't think people get that," said Christine Thomson.
Thomson cast her advance ballot on Monday at the old Sedgwick County Courthouse and is concerned that the expected low voter turnout will affect the outcomes of several races.
"I think people are just... they don't care," Thomson said. "I think a lot of people who do come and vote - they don't have any idea who they're voting for. They think, 'Oh, well this name looks better than that one' and they check it."
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says, out of a population of more than 420,000, only 225,000 are registered to vote in Sedgwick County. She expects a total of about 40,000 ballots on Tuesday, which is about a 20 percent voter turnout.
"A lot of people don't understand the purpose of the primary election," Lehman said. "A primary is for the parties to choose a candidate to send on to the general election in November."
But when there are two Republicans running and no Democrat, the winner in the primary is nearly guaranteed to be the winner in November. That is, unless a third party candidate, an Independent or a write-in candidate were to win, which is highly unlikely.