AP NEWS

Kansas Democrats urging voters to mail ballots amid pandemic

March 18, 2020 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democratic Party officials are encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail for the presidential primary amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The party still plans to hold its primary on May 2, The Kansas City Star reported. Primaries in some states have been postponed, including Ohio and Georgia.

Mail-in ballots will be sent to registered Democrats in late March and voters will have until April 24 to postmark and return them, the party said in a Tuesday statement.

Voters can pick either remaining Democratic candidate Vice President Joe Biden or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to face President Donald Trump in November. Trump clinched the Republican Party nomination, surpassing the necessary delegate threshold.

Political parties run presidential primaries in Kansas, allowing Democrats to make any necessary changes. But Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida, says the state party is still limited by national party rules.

“So they would be subject to those restrictions,” McDonald said.

A Democratic National Committee spokesman provided a Tuesday email from Tom Perez, the national party chairman, that was sent to state party officials last week.

“We know the situation is very different in every state and do want to give state parties flexibility to change their plan to address the guidance you are getting on the ground. Ultimately, the health and safety of the voters is the number one priority,” Perez wrote.

Democratic caucuses and primaries in Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming were already to be held largely by mail this spring.