Your U.S. Senate election primer

The three candidates who will appear on the ballot for U.S. Senate in Kansas are (from left to right), Democrat Barbara Bollier, Republican Roger Marshall and Libertarian Jason Buckley.

Advance in-person voting began in Johnson County on Saturday, Oct. 17, with crowds and long lines in some locations. The county is also accepting mail-in ballots, which can be sent back through the mail or dropped off at eight secure drop boxes spread out across the county.

Johnson County election officials say tens of thousands of voters cast ballots — both in-person and through mail-in ballots — in the first days of early voting. They encourage those who can to vote as early as possible to lessen the chance of large crowds at polling sits on Election Day, Nov. 3. The county’s interim election commissioner has said they are preparing for 90% turnout for the 2020 general election.

The Shawnee Mission Post has together our election primers to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues. This is a primer for Kansas’s much-watched contest for an open U.S. Senate seat.

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Who’s on the ballot

The contest for U.S. Senate in Kansas is for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Roberts, who was first elected in 1996. The candidates who will appear on Johnson Countians’ ballots appear below, with links to their campaign websites.

Candidate questionnaires

Earlier this month, we published the candidates’ responses to the questionnaires we developed with input from our readers. You can find each of the five questionnaire items linked below:

  • Question 1: Protests over police treatment of Black Americans have roiled the country since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. What changes to law enforcement policy would you support to ensure that Black Americans do not face increased risk of harm or harassment at the hands of police? Read their answers here.
  • Question 2: By the end of this year, the federal debt will be nearly equal to the size of the entire United States economy. The deficit has been exacerbated in recent years by the 2017 tax cuts and the stimulus package enacted at the start of the pandemic. How big a priority to you is lowering the federal debt? What specific steps would you support to reduce it? Read their answers here.
  • Question 3: The number of deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the United States is considerably higher than many developed Western countries (like Canada, France and Germany) — though slightly below others (like the UK and Spain). Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? What could the government have done differently to improve outcomes here in the United States? Read their answers here.
  • Question 4: The United States currently spends more per capita on healthcare costs than any developed country — yet our citizens’ health outcomes continue to lag, with rates of obesity and chronic disease much higher than our peers. What does the U.S. need to do to lower its healthcare spending and improve healthcare outcomes for its residents? Should universal health insurance be a priority and, if so, what form should that take? Read their answers here.
  • Question 5: Climate change continues to be a major concern for Shawnee Mission Post readers. What steps should the federal government be taking now to address the impact of the changing climate in the coming decades? How would you work to see those steps enacted? Read their answers here.

Candidate interviews

Post editor Kyle Palmer conducted two interviews with both Democrat Barbara Bollier and Republican Roger Marshall over the last few months leading up to the start of early voting. You can watch these interviews and read recaps below.

Other coverage

The Post has also published issue-based stories regarding the U.S. Senate race in Kansas, produced by our media partners The Kansas Reflector and the Kansas News Service.