‘Presidential Preference Primary’ quickly approaching
Registered voters in Kansas are taking a big sigh of relief after ballots of the 2023 School Board/City Official General Election were officially canvassed. However, Kansans now need to turn their attention to the Presidential Preference Primary Election on March 19, 2024.
Many Kansans are probably scratching their heads saying, “what is a Presidential Preference Primary Election?” That is more than likely due to the fact that Kansas held the last Presidential Preference Primary Election 31 years ago in 1992. The only other Presidential Preference Primary in Kansas’ history was held in 1980.
What is it?
According to the Kansas Secretary of State’s website, https://www.sos.ks.gov/, “a presidential preference primary takes an act by the Kansas legislature to be conducted. The enactment takes the responsibility from the two state parties [Republican and Democrat] in Kansas from conducting a caucus, and instead, having the state of Kansas conduct a primary election. It is a ‘preference’ primary because it is an election where the vote totals are given to a political party to allocate delegates to candidates at the national convention. This is not a primary where the voters select the party candidate.”
This election can be utilized by the respective parties when there isn’t a “clear-cut” choice for a preferred candidate.
In April 2023, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly approved legislation — Senate Substitute for HB 2053 — which allows for a Presidential Preference Primary Election to be held on March 19, 2024. The Presidential Preference Primary allows for the State’s political parties — Republicans and Democrats — to poll registered voters on who they want for Presidential candidate in the November General Election.
In the previous election years — when Presidential Preference Primary elections are not being held — the Republican and Democratic Parties for the State of Kansas selected the candidate of their choosing before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Therefore, the Presidential Preference Primary can be used as a tool by Kansas’ Republican and Democratic Parties in gathering the opinions of voters for the presidential candidate selection process prior to the November 2024 election. However, it is unclear if the respective parties have to endorse the Republican or Democratic candidates chosen by the voters in Kansas.
The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Monday, July 15, 2024, through Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee, Wis. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 19, 2024, through Thursday, Aug. 22, 2024, in Chicago, Ill.
It is also important to note that either party — Republican or Democratic — had the choice to opt out of the state-run presidential primary election by Friday, Dec. 1.
Kansans should also be aware that this is a one-time presidential preference primary. Should the Kansas legislature choose to have another presidential preference primary in four years, this would take an act of the legislature.
Below is more information regarding the Presidential Preference Primary from the Kansas Secretary of State’s website:
Who is on the ballot?
Presidential candidates must file their candidacy with the Secretary of State 60 days before the election (12 p.m. Jan. 19, 2024). Candidates must either pay a $10,000 filing fee or present a petition with 5,000 signatures of registered Kansas voters of the applicable political party.
What Voters Can Participate?
Each political party must notify the Secretary of State in writing on or before Jan. 15, 2024, as to who may vote in the party’s primary election. This information will be updated following Jan. 15, 2024.
Where is my Polling Location?
Like other elections, the county election office will determine where the voting locations are held. Advance voting by mail and advance voting in person are also an option. You will vote at your regular polling place unless you receive a notification by mail from your county election office. You may also verify your polling location on the VoterView website.
Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024: Deadline for political parties to submit the party rules for delegate allocation to the Secretary of State. The Republican Party for Kansas has already submitted their “rules” to the Kansas Secretary of State. Those rules can be found at https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/24elec/Kansas-Republican-Party-Delegate-Selection-Plan.pdf.
Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024: Deadline for political parties to notify the Secretary of State who is eligible to vote in each party’s Presidential Preference Primary.
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024: Deadline to register to vote or update voter registration information to participate in the Presidential Preference Primary. Last day to apply for an advance voting by mail ballot.
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024: First day of advance voting. Advance ballots by mail are transmitted. In-person advance voting may begin. Check with your county election officer for specific times and locations.
Monday, March 18, 2024: In-person advance voting ends at 12 p.m.
Tuesday, March 19, 2024: Presidential Preference Primary Election. All advance ballots by mail must be received by close of polls.