Published September 21st, 2022 at 2:04 PM
Some of the national attention focused on abortion rights may be gone this time around, but the Kansas general election on Nov. 8 still holds some important choices to voters.
Kansans will choose a U.S. Senator, a governor, four members of Congress with newly drawn district boundaries, a secretary of state to oversee elections and an attorney general.
In August, Kansans made international news with the decisive defeat of a constitutional amendment that would have removed abortion as a right. There is no abortion amendment on the November ballot, but there will be two constitutional amendments that deal with powers of the legislative and executive branch and with how county sheriffs are chosen.
Anyone who meets the age and citizenship requirement and is registered can vote. So now it’s time to note the state’s deadlines, check your registration status and make a plan for how you will cast your ballot this fall.
KCUR assembled a guide to help you navigate Kansas’ 2022 election, including information on how to vote and a brief rundown of what to expect on your ballot.
You must be 18 years old by Election Day, a U.S. citizen and a resident of Kansas to be able to vote in the Kansas primary and general elections. However, you can still register if you are 17 but will turn 18 by the election.
The deadline to register to vote before Kansas’ general election is Oct. 18, 2022.
If you think you may already be registered but aren’t sure, there’s an easy way to check online through the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. The site will also show you where your polling place is on Election Day.
In order to register to vote, you will be asked to verify a driver’s license or a non-driver’s ID and fill in some personal information. Those without a driver’s license or non-driver ID can ask for a paper form at the online address below.
You’ll also be asked whether you are currently serving a sentence for felony conviction, which includes probation or parole. If so, you are ineligible to vote. Once probation or parole is finished, you are eligible to re-register to vote.
Your completed application should be returned to the county election office, where registration in person is also available.
You can register to vote, or update your registration, here:
Spanish language voter registration forms are also available on the Secretary of State’s website.
Kansas offers several options for no-excuse advance voting, both in person and by mail.
All Kansas voters have the option to vote by mail without submitting a reason. However, a new request for a mail-in ballot must be made for each election. Blank forms are available on the Secretary of State’s website.
Advance by-mail ballots can be requested any time, but the latest you can request them is Nov. 1, 2022. Kansas won’t start mailing those out until Oct. 19, 2022. When you mail back your completed ballot, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the county no later than the close of business the Friday after the election (Nov. 11).
Find your county election office here.
Advance mail ballots can also be dropped off in secure drop boxes provided by the county. Dropbox availability and locations will vary by county and from election to election, so the Secretary of State’s office advises voters to check with their county election office for details.
Once you’ve mailed in your advance ballot, the Secretary of State’s office offers a way to track your ballot and make sure it’s been received and processed correctly.
In-person advance voting works the same way as regular voting, except you do it before Election Day at one of your county’s advance voting sites. You still need to bring the appropriate ID and sign the poll book.
Advance voting sites also vary from year to year and are not the same as your Election Day polling location. Check with your county election office to find where and when they’re open.
Kansas polling places are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.
County election officials have a little leeway on that, though. Polls must be open for at least 12 hours, but can open as early as 6 a.m. and close as late as 8 p.m. Check with your local election office for more information.
If you are in line at the time of closing, you have a right to cast a ballot — stay in line!
Find your polling place and sample ballot at the Secretary of State’s website
By law, Kansas voting must be accessible to voters of all ages and disabilities. If more than 5% of a county’s voting-age population is from a single-language minority and not able to understand English, alternative printed materials or interpreters must be available.
Five counties meet this requirement: Finney, Ford, Grant, Haskell and Seward.
In addition, each polling place must have at least one machine compliant with the Help America Vote Act to allow voters with disabilities to vote in secret.
Yes. Photo identification is required in Kansas to vote in person, either in advance or on Election Day. (If you vote by mail, you will be asked to provide proof of acceptable ID when you apply for a ballot).
Kansas accepts the following forms of photo identification:
If you don’t have your ID at the polling place, you will be given a provisional ballot. That means your vote won’t be included in Election Day totals. You must return to the election office to present your ID before your ballot can be counted during the vote canvass.
Provisional ballots can also be issued if you show up at the wrong polling place or if you voted by mail, but then voted again in person.
Registered Kansas voters can apply for a free, non-driver ID card from the Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles. You can download the form online here, or find it at all driver’s license offices and county election offices.
In the November general election, Kansas voters will determine a number of major state and federal offices — from U.S. Senator and governor on down — and weigh in on two constitutional amendments.
You can request a sample ballot from your county election office. You can also find your sample ballot online. This link also lists your congressional, state House and Senate and local districts.
Although the ballot issues this time around are not expected to generate the same amount of national interest and spending as the rejected abortion amendment, they’re still of major importance to Kansans.
A legislative veto amendment seeks to change the balance of power between the governor’s office and Legislature, while the elected sheriff amendment would require an election for county sheriffs.
More information on the constitutional questions can be found at the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.
Question 1: Legislative powers amendment
Under the current Kansas Constitution, the state Legislature writes laws and the governor has administrative power over rules and regulations on such things as public health, education, and the environment.
The governor also has veto power over bills passed by the Legislature. Legislators can override the governor’s veto by a two-thirds vote.
Legislative power over administrative rules is currently indirect. Lawmakers can override administrative rules by passing new laws and overriding a veto of such laws would require a supermajority.
November’s amendment — passed by lawmakers as House Concurrent Resolution 5014 — would shift power towards the Legislature, giving its members power to directly veto the governor’s regulations with a simple majority.
For more information, read this story about the legislative powers amendment.
Question 2: Elected sheriff amendment
This amendment would make it a requirement that Kansas counties hold elections for their sheriffs and change the procedure to remove a sheriff from office.
Currently, all Kansas counties but one elect their sheriffs — the exception being Riley County, which abolished its sheriff’s office in 1974 and merged sheriff and police department duties.
House Concurrent Resolution 5022 excludes any county that abolished its sheriff’s office before Jan. 11, 2022.
Having an elected sheriff became an issue last year when Johnson County’s home rule charter came up for its 10-year review, and a charter commission member suggested making it an appointed position.
Nothing came of the idea, but some Republican lawmakers took up the cause for making sheriff elections a part of the Kansas Constitution.
Another provision in the amendment says the sheriff could only be involuntarily removed by a recall election or by the state attorney general. A recall can be initiated by a voter petition with signatures equalling at least 40% of the votes in the most recent sheriff’s election.
With the Democratic majority a very thin margin, the balance of the U.S. Senate will be at stake this year. Jerry Moran, who has represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate since 2011, is running for reelection.
Members of the U.S. House are re-elected every two years, so every representative in Kansas is on the ballot in November. Democrats have a majority in the House this year, and there has been much speculation about whether that majority will hold through the fall elections.
Another thing to note: Congressional boundaries in Kansas have changed this year, under a redistricting plan passed by the Kansas Legislature and upheld by the state supreme court.
Here’s a rundown of the candidates running for each U.S. House race.
Kansas is the only state won by former President Donald Trump in 2020 that has an incumbent Democratic governor. Now, Gov. Laura Kelly — who took office in 2019 — is facing a tough reelection fight.
Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist in Kansas City. This story first appeared on KCUR 89.3, a member of the KC Media Collective. This story is part of ongoing midterm election coverage by members of the KC Media Collective.