Election Types

There are several types of elections that Johnson County voters can participate in. Expand the sections below to learn about the different types of elections, when they happen and who can participate in them.

Primary Elections

Primary elections are a special type of election where candidate lists are narrowed down after the candidate filing process takes place. Winners of primary elections are not elected to office, but are instead forwarded to the general election. The only offices elected during a primary election are precinct committee positions in even-year partisan primaries. 

There are two types of primary elections in Johnson County:

  • partisan primary elections that take place in even years,
  • and nonpartisan primary elections that take place as needed in odd years. 

Partisan Primary Elections

Partisan Primary Elections are held for the two major political parties in Kansas. 

The Democratic August Primary Election is open only to those voters registered with the Democratic party and unaffiliated voters who wish to affiliate with the Democratic party by filling out a new declaration card on election day.

The Republican August Primary Election is open only to those registered as Republicans and unaffiliated voters who wish to affiliate as Republicans by filling out a new declaration card on election day.

Unaffiliated voters who do not wish to declare a party affiliation and Libertarian voters are eligible to vote on nonpartisan races and questions, if any. All relevant nonpartisan items and questions also appear on the Democratic and Republican ballots.

Primary voting rules are established by the parties and state law and are not established by the election office. Voters may cast only one ballot in any election.

The Election Office does not distribute campaign/candidate information. A voter may contact the party headquarters for candidate position information.

Nonpartisan Primary Elections

Primary elections in odd years are nonpartisan. Every registered voter in the district will receive the same list of candidates and state law prohibits party affiliation from being printed on the ballot next to a candidate’s name. 

Unlike even-year primary elections, odd-year primaries only take place when the number of candidates for a contest passes a statutory level equal to three times the positions up for election, plus one.

For example a mayoral contest with only one position open will likely only have a primary if four or more candidates file for office. An at-large contest with four positions open would require 13 candidates before a primary would be held.  

General Elections

General Elections take place in November each year. This is the election in which candidates are actually elected to office. Even-year elections have larger offices while odd-year elections handle the local city and school offices. 

Party affiliation does not matter in a general election like it would in a partisan primary election. Every registered voter in a precinct will receive the same ballot style regardless of their political affiliation. Candidates are listed with their party in even years and without their party in odd years. 

Special Mail Ballot Elections

What is a mail ballot election?

A mail ballot election is an election conducted entirely by mail. Ballots are mailed to registered voters; ballots are marked by the voters and returned by mail to the Election Office. 

Ballots may also be returned in person at the Election Office during regular business hours or by using the drop box after hours. All ballots must be returned by 12:00 noon on Election Day.

A mail ballot election may only be conducted for a “question-submitted” election, such as a school district seeking voter approval of a bond issue for the district.

Mail Ballot Election Day

The mail ballot deadline is 12:00 noon on Election Day. Ballots returned after the noon deadline cannot be counted. Election Day is always on a Tuesday.

How do I get a mail ballot?

Active voters residing within the voting district, who are registered at least 30 days prior to Election Day, automatically receive a mail ballot. Ballots are mailed beginning 20 days before Election Day.

Voters registering within 30 days before Election Day, but before the Voter Registration deadline (21 days before Election Day), must apply for a mail ballot using a Replacement Mail Ballot Form provided by the Election Office. The deadline for such requests is the Friday prior to the Election Day. 

For a mail ballot election, there will not be any polling places open on Election Day or any other time. 

Make certain you are a registered voter!

If you are a registered voter, you are already registered for a mail ballot election. You can view your voter information online.

Voter registration for a mail ballot election closes 21 days before Election Day. Anyone who registers to after 30 days before Election Day, but before voter registration closes, is eligible to apply for a mail ballot. A ballot will not be sent automatically.

A voting district resident may submit a voter registration application and a Replacement Mail Ballot Form together. The voter registration application must be postmarked or received in the Election Office by the date voter registration closes. A Replacement Mail Ballot Form must be received in the Election Office by the Friday immediately prior to Election Day. No ballot will be mailed to any voter after Friday.

Voter instructions for a mail ballot election

Every ballot mailed will include instructions on voting the ballot and completing the return envelope. No postage is necessary to return voted ballots if mailed in the United States.

Only one voted ballot is permitted to be returned in each return envelope. It is impossible to determine the validity of multiple ballots in the same envelope, and as a result none are counted. In a mail ballot election, a person casting more than one ballot voids all ballots cast by that person.

The voter’s signature and current address are required by Kansas Statute. If the affidavit is not signed by the voter, Kansas law prohibits anyone from opening the envelope or counting the vote on the ballot. The Affidavit of Voter must be signed for the ballot to be opened and counted!

A voter who is sick, disabled, or is not proficient in reading the English language may need the assistance of another person to mark and/or return the ballot. 

Any such person providing assistance to a voter must sign the Affidavit of Assistance.

What is the deadline for returning ballots to the Election Office?

All ballots cast in a mail ballot election must be received by the Johnson County Election Office on or before 12:00 noon on Election Day. If you are mailing your voted ballot to the Election Office, you must mail it early so that it will arrive in the Election Office not later than 12:00 noon on Election Day. 

If you are not confident that the US Postal Service will deliver your ballot to the Election Office by the noon deadline, you may deliver your ballot in person. All ballots personally returned to the Election Office on Election Day must be received by 12:00 noon. Ballots that are received in the Election Office after the deadline cannot be counted.

Privacy protection and the secret ballot

The privacy and secrecy of your vote is maintained by a careful and deliberate procedure when voted mail ballot envelopes are opened. All envelopes are opened by a special election board. When the envelopes are opened, the ballot is removed and placed face down in one pile to prevent anyone from seeing how the ballot is voted. The empty envelope is placed in a separate pile.

After the ballots are separated from the envelopes, the empty envelopes are banded and placed in a storage box, then ballots are unfolded and flattened.

Ballots are batched and processed through a high-speed tabulator that counts and images the ballots for tabulation. After ballots are scanned, they are placed in a storage box and sealed.

Election Results

Unofficial results are posted at the Election Results link on the Election Office Web Site as soon as results are available on Election Day. Official final results will be posted to the website after the Board of Canvassers meet to consider Provisional Ballots and certify the election.