Voter push: Recent history proves need for stepped-up participation.

6/20/2014

In 2012, some Kansans changed parties to have a voice in the Republican primary election.

In 2012, some Kansans changed parties to have a voice in the Republican primary election.

And now, there's cause to do the same.

As happened two years ago, the Aug. 5 GOP primary will pit far-right Republicans against more moderate, traditional Republicans in various races.

This time, however, there's less time to switch parties, thanks to a new law from ultraconservatives worried about such party-switching taking away votes from their favored candidates.

The previous deadline to switch was July 15. This year it's June 30, as the new law goes into effect July 1.

Starting next year, it moves to June 1 to coincide with the filing deadline, which will make it practically impossible to switch parties in response to last-minute filings.

Of course, such switches apply almost exclusively to Democrats in a state that's a Republican stronghold, with many races decided in GOP primaries due to a shortage of Democratic contenders.

It's again an issue in key Kansas Statehouse races.

The Koch brothers-Kansas Chamber-Americans for Prosperity alliance remains intent on sidelining lawmakers not in line with their agenda, one that's brought us such gems as income tax breaks for the wealthy; shifts of financial burdens to the local level; a war on public schools; and attempts to undo renewable energy initiatives, among other ruinous pursuits.

In 2012, the Koch political machine helped purge several GOP state senators who tried to block their extremism. House members are targeted this year, including District 122 Rep. Russ Jennings, R-Lakin.

Keep in mind, Jennings has worked for his constituents in such ways as defending a Renewable Portfolio Standard good for the regional economy, and voting against a school finance bill that hurt K-12 schools and teachers.

He will be challenged in the primary by Lakin Republican Stan Rice, who's supported by the Koch-Kansas Chamber camp.

Enough said.

The Koch-fueled assault on select state senators was ruthless in 2012, and we would expect another such campaign of misinformation this time around.

Jennings will need strong voter support and turnout — to include those willing to switch parties to help make a stand against the destructive march to an ultraconservative utopia.

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