Kansas residents have until Tuesday to register to vote in the upcoming primary election.
The primary election is Aug. 7. Only voters registered with a party can vote in the primary election.
Kansas voters cannot change their party affiliation until Sept. 1, said Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County’s election commissioner. Voters who are unaffiliated may select a party when they go to vote in the primary.
Primary elections allow citizens to weigh in on the selection of candidates for their party’s nomination. Candidates who win the primary will have their names on the ballot during the general election in November.
Lehman said this year’s primary is drawing a lot of attention with a highly contested race for governor.
“It’s very important that people vote and get their voice heard so that when they go on to the general election they have the candidate they want to vote for then … ,” Lehman said.
Lehman anticipates above-average voter turnout for the upcoming primary election. She estimated 30 percent voter turnout in Sedgwick County, which would be a significant increase from the 2014 primary, which drew 19 percent.
In 2010, voter turnout for the primary in Sedgwick County was 25 percent, and in 2006, 16 percent.
“This year we are going to have higher turnout than we have in the past,” Lehman said. “We are assuming because it’s been a while since the Democratic Party has had highly contested statewide races in the primary.”
There are currently more than 294,000 registered voters in Sedgwick County and 1.8 million registered voters in Kansas.
Early voting at the election office in the Historic County Courthouse in Wichita begins July 23. Satellite polling stations, which offer voting at 16 sites in Sedgwick County, open Aug. 2. A valid government-issued ID is required to vote.
Residents have until Oct. 16 to register for the general election, which takes place Nov. 6.
Evan Pflugradt is an intern in the KMUW News Lab. Follow him @evPflu