Kansas Democrats change from caucus to primary, results could change too

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (CAPITOL BUREAU) – The way Kansas Democrats vote for presidential candidates is changing in a big way next year.

People that participated in the 2016 Democratic Presidential caucus will notice differences when they cast their vote in 2020. That’s because it’s no longer a caucus. Democrats are changing to a primary.

“The big problem with caucuses is turnout, very, very few people want to be involved with caucuses.” said KSNT News Political Analyst Bob Beatty.

“We’re talking in Kansas, less than 10 percent of party members show up for the caucuses,” he said.

Democratic party leaders hope the switch will increase participation as well as make it easier to vote.

The way people vote is also changing. Voters won’t just pick their favorite candidate like in the past. Democrats will have to list candidates in order from their first preference to last.

If a candidate doesn’t receive 15 percent on the initial vote, he or she drops out. And those votes head to each person’s next choice if they’re still remaining.

“They’ll have an initial vote, here’s your top nine candidates, here’s the vote they got, but then with ranked choice they’ll be able to only give delegates to those who got 15 percent or more,” explained Beatty.

He said the new system could produce different results than in the past.

“What the Democratic party of Kansas is looking to do is to increase turnout, one result we’ll see could be a different type of candidate emerges from Kansas than from the caucuses,” said Beatty.

He said a more middle of the party candidate could be more likely, rather than a far-left or far-right one.

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