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Who's on My Ballot? Where Can I Learn About Candidates?

#KS2016

Our Kansas elections team has been taking questions from voters. One of those questions is this: where can you go to find information on the candidates? Our elections editor Amy Jeffries spoke with KPR's Stephen Koranda to ask that question... and a few more.


As Election Day closes in, it's time to get down to brass tacks. 

Our collaborative team covering elections in Kansas has been answering your questions, big and small. 

Katie in Shawnee has the essential question: 

“What’s the best place to find who will be on the ticket for my district, and what’s the best way to look at their platform?”

The county election office website is a good place to start -- in Katie’s case in Johnson County that's jocoelection.org. Some election office websites, like Johnson County's, offer sample ballots or at least a list of the candidates running.

The Secretary of State’s Office also has a voter portal, myvoteinfo.voteks.org, that lets anyone find their districts for all the races. And then on the Secretary of State’s website there’s a full list of candidates in every district statewide for Congress, the Legislature, the state Board of Education, and district attorney.

The next step is discerning candidates' platforms.

Some organizations, including local newspapers and groups like Women for Kansas, have put out candidate questionnaires, although not every candidate has responded to every question.

Endorsements from groups across the political spectrum can give an indication of where candidates stand. In no particular order, the Mainstream Coalition, KNEA, the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansans for Life, NFIB, and plenty of other groups have endorsed candidates. The Kansas Chamber hasn’t put out a new list of endorsements for the general elections, but some of the candidates they backed for the primaries are still standing.

Most candidates have web pages and social media sites, but the information there can take a little deciphering.

For example, take the issue of taxes. If you see a candidate saying something like “the state should live within its means,” then that candidate probably would prioritize spending cuts over increased taxes.

On the other hand, if a candidate's website says something like “the state should make sure the tax system is fair and everyone pays their fair share,” then it’s probably safe to say that candidate wants to reconsider some tax breaks, like the income tax exemption for certain types of businesses in Kansas.

Most Kansans have also seen political mailers arrive in their mailbox by this time of year. The claims made on those postcards are often best taken with a grain of salt.

But, the fine print showing who paid for a mailer can be useful.

It's safe to say if a group is touting a candidate -- or slamming their opponent -- that group expects the candidate to be in line with them on major issues. Look back at the positions of those endorsing organizations.

Stephen Koranda covers the Kansas Legislature for Kansas Public Radio. Follow Stephen on Twitter @KPRKoranda.

Amy Jeffries, based at KCUR, is the editor of a statewide collaboration with Kansas Public Radio covering elections in Kansas. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyoverhere.

Who's on My Ballot? Where Can I Get More Candidate Information?

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