Thursday, May 2, 2019

Kansas Democrats Settle on May Party-Run Primary

The Kansas Democratic Party on Thursday, May 2 released their 2020 draft delegate selection plan, exactly one year ahead of when the party intends to hold a presidential preference primary.

Like Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota Democrats, Democrats in Kansas are shifting away from traditional caucuses and toward a mode of delegate selection closer to a primary. While the window for voting in the May 2 party-run primary in the Sunflower state is fairly narrow -- 10am-2pm -- that is offset by 1) the contest being scheduled for a Saturday and 2) the party allowing for absentee voting (by mail) from March 30 through April 24. Additionally, although the field is likely to have winnowed to some degree by the beginning (March 30) of that absentee window, registered Democrats in Kansas will use a ranked choice voting ballot. Absent additional details, it would appear that voters will have a full list of candidates to rank order on the ballot (unlike the variation in Alaska where voters choose/rank their top three).

Moreover, Kansas would become the largest state to adopt a party-run primary approach to delegate selection process, and that bigger potential electorate entails a larger cost to the process. Those costs are borne out through the need for addition voting locations and volunteers to staff them. The draft Kansas plan does indicate that the party will have at least one primary day voting location in each of the Sunflower state's 40 state senate districts. While the allocation of delegates to the national convention will be based on the results of the May 2 primary, the selection process will follow starting with May 9 state senate district conventions, May 16 congressional district conventions (where congressional district delegates will be chosen) and a June 6 state convention (where at-large and PLEO delegates will be selected).

Finally, Kansas Democrats have 39 delegates (which includes six superdelegates) under the Democratic Party delegate apportionment formula. However, due to the proposed date of the party-run primary -- after the May 1 -- the party would gain an additional 20 percent bonus on its base delegation. That would likely tack another six delegates onto the total number of Kansas delegates heading to the national convention in Milwaukee.

3/13/19: North Dakota Democrats Plan to Hold March 10 Firehouse Caucuses

3/26/19: Hawaii Democrats Aim for an April Party-Run Primary in Lieu of Caucuses

3/31/19: Alaska Democrats Plan on April 4 Party-Run Primary

The Kansas Democratic party-run primary date is now reflected on the 2020 FHQ Presidential Primary Calendar.

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