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Kansas Democrats vote to close primaries

Updated: 2013-02-25T13:14:31Z

BY BRENT D. WISTROM

Eagle Topeka bureau

Only registered Democrats will be allowed to vote in the party’s 2014 primary election under a change approved by party leaders at their Washington Days rally in Topeka.

The move reverses the party’s prior primary-ballot rule that allowed unaffiliated voters to cast ballots to pick Democratic candidates to advance to the general election.

Republicans for years have had closed primary elections that require unaffiliated voters to sign on with the party to vote on Republican candidates.

Party spokesman Dakota Loomis said the Democratic State Committee voted 86-61 on Saturday in favor of the change, which allows Democrats to identify voters more easily to urge them to vote in the general election.

"In the end this is a procedural change that we’ll be watching to see if it has any impact on our primaries and on registration numbers," Loomis said in an e-mail.

Kansas lawmakers are debating several constitutional amendments related to the selection of appellate court judges and banning state courts from ordering the Legislature to spend more on education that, if approved by two-thirds votes of lawmakers, would appear on August 2014 primary ballots. Any registered voter would be able to vote on such ballot proposals

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