Your Election Day primer: Who’s on the ballot, where to vote, and where the candidates stand

Tuesday is primary election day in Johnson County. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Folks: Tuesday is primary election day.

If you are a registered voter and haven’t taken advantage of the life-affirming opportunity that is advance voting in Johnson County, you can head to the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday to cast your ballot on Johnson County’s new voting machines.

Where do I vote?

If you’re registered to vote with the Johnson County Election Office, you should have received a postcard in the mail in recent weeks noting your voting location. (Be sure to give it a read, because many voting locations have shifted in recent years).

You can also confirm your voting location and check out a sample ballot using the Johnson County Election Office’s Voter Lookup tool.

(Note: The deadline to change party affiliations for the primary is long gone. BUT if you are registered as an independent, you CAN declare for a party at your polling station on Tuesday and cast your ballots in either the Democratic or Republican races.)

What’s on the ballot

In addition to statewide contests for governor and lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and insurance commission, here are the local races with primary contests that will be on the ballot Tuesday:

  • U.S. House of Representatives Kansas 3rd Congressional District (Republican and Democratic primaries. The incumbent is Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder.)
  • Kansas House of Representatives District 17 (Republican primary. The incumbent is Republican Rep. Tom Cox, who is running for reelection.)
  • Kansas House of Representatives District 18 (Republican and Democratic primaries. Incumbent Rep. Cindy Neighbor is seeking reelection).
  • Kansas House of Representatives District 30 (Republican and Democratic primaries. The incumbent is Rep. Randy Powell, who is not seeking reelection.)
  • Kansas House of Representatives District 22 (Democratic primary. The incumbent is Rep. Nancy Lusk, who is running for reelection.)
  • State Board of Education District 3 (Republican primary. The incumbent is John Bacon, who is not seeking reelection.)
  • Prairie Village mayor (nonpartisan primary. The incumbent is Laura Wassmer, who is not seeking reelection.)

Where do the candidates stand?

We developed candidate questionnaires for all of the races listed above. Below are links to the posts that have the candidates’ responses to individual policy questions:

U.S. House

  • Financial strain on the middle class: The costs of college, child care and health care have all risen much faster than wages over the past decades, a trend that has strained the budgets of middle class families. What policies would you advocate for in Congress to help middle class families here afford the costs needed to raise children?
  • Preventing school shootings: The shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Santa Fe High Schools this year have renewed the debate over gun control and school safety in the United States. What is the best way to prevent school shootings? Should additional gun control laws be part of the approach?
  • Separating immigrant families at the border: The separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border has drawn criticism from policymakers across the country. How should U.S. officials handle families attempting to enter the country? What specific points should comprehensive immigration reform legislation include?
  • Tax cuts and the deficit: The tax cut bill signed into law by President Trump has reduced businesses’ and individuals’ tax liabilities by hundreds of millions of dollars. But the Congressional Budget Office projects the policy will add around $1 trillion to the federal deficit. Do you support the legislation? Are you comfortable with the increase in the federal deficit?
  • Health care costs and access: The Affordable Care Act remains on the books, but the “individual mandate” requiring people to have health insurance is set to go away in 2019 under the 2017 tax bill. Some proponents of the ACA say this will further destabilize the Health Insurance Marketplace. Some opponents of the ACA say the entire law needs to be repealed. What health care coverage policies should the federal government be pursuing?

Kansas House

  • State tax policy: In 2017, the legislature largely rolled back the income tax cuts signed by Gov. Sam Brownback. That move came in response to years of below-estimate revenues that prompted several budget cuts. But there’s been a push by some legislators to again introduce new tax cutting measures. What’s your view on the current state of Kansas tax policy? Should the state be looking to cut taxes?
  • K-12 funding and the courts: The Kansas Supreme Court’s latest ruling in the Gannon case suggests the legislature could come into compliance with the constitution’s K-12 funding “adequacy” provision by accounting for inflation in the formula it used in the plan approved last session. Making that adjustment could require the addition of around $100 million in annual funding for K-12 schools. Would you support updating the current K-12 formula per the court’s guidance? If so, where should that additional money come from?
  • Medicaid expansion: Should Kansas expand Medicaid eligibility, a move that would make health insurance coverage through the program open to about 150,000 additional Kansans? Why or why not?
  • The future of DCF: The Kansas Department of Children and Families has been under fire in recent months after reports about widespread dysfunction, including lax oversight that led to the extreme abuse and neglect of kids in state custody. What needs to be done to improve DCF?
  • Adoption and LGBT couples: Last session, the legislature approved a bill that allows religion-based adoption agencies to refuse placing children with LGBT couples. Do you support this legislation? Why or why not?

Prairie Village Mayor

  • Teardown-rebuilds and neighborhood character: A majority of residents say they are concerned about the teardown-rebuild trend and the impact it’s having on neighborhoods. Should the city be taking additional steps to ensure new homes “fit” the neighborhoods where they are built? Should the city being looking at ways to reduce disruption to neighbors from new home construction?
  • Leadership style: What’s your view of the role of a mayor in a city like Prairie Village? Should the top elected official be setting a bold vision for the city? Primarily minding spending? Focusing on some other priority?
  • Appraised home values and property taxes: Prairie Village homeowners have seen their appraised home values increase faster than most of the rest of the county the past few years. What’s your view of the city’s property tax rate in the face of these rising home values?
  • Bike- and walkability: The governing body has considered a number of initiatives in recent years to expand bike and pedestrian trails throughout Prairie Village — but has backed away from some projects after the objection of homeowners. Do you think expansion of bike and pedestrians trails is a priority for the city? If so, what would you do to see such projects become a reality?
  • Top priority for first term: If you were elected mayor, what’s the top thing you hope you could say about Prairie Village at the end of your term that you can’t say today?

State Board of Education District 3

  • Sex education: What’s your philosophy on sex education in public schools? Should parents have to opt-in to sex ed programs for their kids? Or opt-out if they don’t want their kids to participate?
  • Public money and private schools: What’s your position on the use of Kansas taxpayer funding for private schools? Are there situations where you think it’s acceptable or advisable to direct state funds to private educational institutions? If so when and why?
  • Attracting teachers to Kansas: What could Kansas do to attract more teachers to rural districts and urban districts