My fellow Kansans, I am writing to inform you of your homework assignment. It has two parts. (1) Your job tonight is to call all of your open-minded friends and tell them to get to the polls tomorrow. (2) Your job tomorrow is to get yourself to the polls to vote in the primary.
The Aug. 1 primary marks Round 1 of the battle over control for the Kansas state Board of Education. Because Kansas is also an overwhelmingly red state, the primary may well mark the best chance to defeat to defeat some of the anti-evolution, anti-science incumbents who helped de-emphasize the teaching of evolution and undermine education in a variety of ways.
Right now the bad news is that officials are predicting a low turnout. Low turnout always favors the more fervent and organized group in a campaign. No matter what else you can say about the religious right, they are certainly fervent and organized.
Thoughts From Kansas puts the primary in perspective this way.
In 2004 there were less than 38,000 votes cast for the two candidates for the Republican nomination that Kathy Martin ultimately won (thus seizing a creationist majority). This is an off-year without an exciting race at the top of the ballot, so turnout will be lower. Getting a few people to remember to vote (this) Tuesday could easily swing the tide.For more of In This Moment's coverage of the state board races, see:
The Kansas Evolution Election: What the heck is it?
The Kansas Evolution Election: Who's Who & How You Can Help
Thoughts From Kansas pointed us to this interesting column in this weekend's Wichita Eagle.
Other commentary and coverage of the primary can be found in the following.
On the Insurance Commissioner's race:
Kansas Politics: What the radical right really wants
On the primary as a whole:
Primaries see religious influence