(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about upcoming local election issues.)
It’s not likely to draw the national attention that has been attached to recent Republican primaries around the nation, but on March 10, Kansas Republicans will gather at sites all across the state to hold the party’s presidential caucus.
Local attorney Richard Friedeman, who has been active in GOP issues since the 1970s and who formerly worked in Sen. Bob Dole’s office, explained that in Kansas, the caucus does control how the delegates will vote. The caucus is not just suggestive.
And the caucus allows those who participate to express their opinions about who will be supported, Friedeman added.
There will be presentations of support for the various candidates who have filed to be part of the caucus, he added.
Kansas GOP information explains that, in the caucus “registered Republicans in Kansas cast ballots indicating their preference for the Republican presidential candidate. The number of votes cast for each candidate determine how many of Kansas’ 40 delegates to the National Republican Convention are assigned to each presidential candidate.”
According to the caucus rules, presented by the Kansas GOP on its website, the caucus process is open to everyone who is a registered Republican as of Feb. 17,
It was explained that Feb. 17 is set as the last date because, “the state party must purchase the statewide voter registration list from the Secretary of State and then needs time to break the list into 93 sub lists and distribute them to the various caucus chairs.”
To participate in the caucus, a voter should, “bring your state issued photo ID (like a driver’s license) to the caucus location. Be prepared for lines during the check-in process. Each voter will have to have their registration verified.”
The caucus will be called to order at 10 a.m. on March 10. Actual times may differ from one location to another, according to the Kansas GOP information.
“Each caucus location will determine when it will open doors to start credentialing voters. Sites anticipating small attendance may open around 9:30 a.m., while larger attendance sites may open as early as 8:30.
“Opening times will be posted on the party website in mid-February.”
A voter can attend any caucus that is in their congressional district.
Caucus locations in this part of the state will include: Barton County, Great Bend High School auditorium, 2027 Morton, Great Bend; Ellsworth County, Courthouse, 210 N. Kansas, Ellsworth; Ness County, First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, Main and School streets, Ness City; Pawnee County, Larned Community Center, 1500 Toles Ave., Larned; Rice County, Lyons Federal Bank Community Room, 200 W. Ave. South, Lyons; Rush County, Bison Community Building, Main Street, Bison; Russell County, Dream Theater, 629 N. Main Street, Russell; and Stafford County, Stafford County Courthouse Annex, 215 N. Broadway, St. John.
According to the Kansas GOP information, this is more than just a formality, with actual campaigning being part of the process.
“Caucus chairs are given broad latitude in running their event.
“Once you are checked-in, you will proceed to the main seating area. The chair of the caucus will call the meeting to order at 10 a.m.
“Following the introduction, there will be the opportunity for representatives from various campaigns to present information about their candidate. Once all the representatives have had an opportunity to discuss their candidate, ballots will be distributed and you can vote.
“Voting will be by secret ballot. You will only vote for one candidate from a list of eight.”
Campaigning for a particular candidate is encouraged, the GOP site added. “Electioneering at caucus locations is encouraged. T-shirts, stickers, signs, and literature from candidates is allowed.
“If you chose to pass out information about a specific candidate, please be respectful of other people’s opinions.”
For more information on the process, check out the Kansas GOP website: www.ksgop.org.