Elections | KCUR

Elections

Segment 1: UMKC political science professors give us a lesson in what socialism is, and what it isn't.

With a democratic frontrunner who doesn't shy away from being labeled a socialist, the need to understand the term (and its baggage in US politics) is more crucial than ever. We start with the basics and take it from there.

The two top candidates for Missouri governor signed up to run in their party’s respective primaries on Tuesday, and spent their first moments as official candidates diverging on a ballot item to expand Medicaid.

Gov. Mike Parson and state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s entry into the 2020 gubernatorial contest came as scores of other congressional, statewide and legislative candidates traveled to Jefferson City to file for office.

Segment 1: Can trust in the American electoral system be restored?

As the 2020 election season takes shape, the fairness and security of our electoral systems are being questioned by regular voters, politicians and the intelligence community alike. From voter supression to foreign influence campaigns, we get a threat assessment for electoral integrity in the U.S.

Absentee voting is already underway for Missouri’s presidential primary on March 10.

But it’s unclear how much attention the primary will receive from candidates or voters. Or how important Missouri’s votes will be in choosing the two major parties’ nominees.

Would-be voters in Missouri have until Feb. 12 to register.

Segment 1: A Kansas native moderated the last Democratic debate in Iowa.

Brianne Pfannenstiel grew up in Lawrence and got her first job in journalism at the Kansas City Star. Now that she's in a state with a huge voice in this year's election, we wanted to know: How does she feel the Midwest is represented in national discourse today? What does she think of Iowa's role specifically? And, what is it like to moderate a national debate?

Segment 1: Test scores for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools improved last year.

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools saw last year's test scores jump at least four percentage points from the 2017-18 school year. Today, the superintendent explains his strategies for continued success, and details the work still left to do.

Segment 1: Will young voters hold their momentum in 2020?

The youth vote made a difference in the 2018 midterms in Kansas, as well as nationwide. Turnout was way up from 2014. As 2020 elections get closer, what are experts predicting now?

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

If you’re wondering when the streets of Paseo Boulevard that have Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard signs will become Paseo once more, you may be waiting a while.

Segment 1: Why Iowa holds the first caucuses in the country, and what their results mean for each political party.

Advertising guidelines and an agriculture convention landed Iowa in the No. 1 spot in the country's presidential primary process. One political science professor said, for Republicans the caucuses show who will not be president, and, since 2000, the Democrat who won Iowa has gone on to be the presidential nominee.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Johnson County's top election official, Ronnie Metsker, is resigning just over a year after former Secretary of State Kris Kobach appointed him to a new four-year term. 

Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab announced the resignation in a statement, but did not say why Metsker is stepping down. All requests for comment from Metsker were directed to the secretary of state's office.

Element5 Digital / Unsplash

Democrats in Virginia claimed big wins in the Tuesday election, fueled in no small part by big investments from gun control advocates.

The historic blue wave marked the first time Democrats seized control of the state’s government in a generation.

Segment 1: The former U.S. Senator from Missouri says, "traditional qualifications for president are on life support."

Segment 1: Kansas City voters revert Martin Luther King Boulevard back to its previous name, Paseo.

The morning after  Martin Luther King's name was voted off of a major boulevard, we analyze what the controversy and its outcome mean for Kansas City communities. Plus, how this all looks through a national lens.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas will now have a streamlined census that counts people only where they’re living after voters decided Tuesday to end the practice of adjusting the numbers before state legislative districts are drawn up.

Bigstock Images

On November 5, voters in Kansas City, Missouri, chose to reverse the city council's decision to rename Paseo Boulevard after Martin Luther King, Jr. and filled two open seats in the Missouri House with Democrats. In Kansas, Wyandotte County voters largely re-elected incumbents with one notable exception.

Segment 1: The Unified Government's chief executive discusses violent crime, economic development and local elections.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday’s election includes races for two Kansas City-area Missouri House seats that were vacated earlier this year. 

The 22nd  District House seat came open after Democratic Rep. Brandon Ellington resigned to serve on the city council, while the 36th District House seat is open because Democratic Rep. DaRon McGee stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations.

KCUR interviewed candidates for both seats. These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Avery Gott

The Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees race, which is non-partisan and typically quiet, has been highly contentious this year. Six candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three open spots on the board of the $150 million community college.

Student enrollment is trending down due to low unemployment in the county, leading the school to rely on income from property taxes for 65% of its budget.

Avery Gott / KCUR 89.3

Voters throughout Kansas City, Missouri, are being asked to decide whether to reverse a city council decision from earlier this year and change the name of what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard back to Paseo Boulevard.

BigStock Images

Voters in Wyandotte County will decide on Nov. 5 whether they want to see a change of hands on the Unified Government Board of Commissioners. 

In this election, voters will select commissioners, representatives for the Board of Public Utilities and board members of USD 500 Kansas City, Kansas, public schools. Early voting starts Saturday.

Segment 1: Kansas voters will see a census-changing initiative on the November ballot.

The 2020 census is coming up, and Kansas is looking to change where some people are counted. For the past three decades, the state called individual college students and military members who don't live at their permanent address, and asking if they'd like to be counted at their permanent address or their temporary one. We learned why this census calculation method began, and why many in the state now want it to change. 

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts says he will not run for re-election in 2020, opening the door to a parade of candidates announcing a run or considering jumping into the race to replace him. Multiple Republicans are eyeing the seat, and it could be the first time Democrats have a competitive U.S. Senate primary since the 1990s.

Here’s the rundown of who’s seeking the seat in Washington: 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner is ending his campaign for the U.S. Senate and will instead launch a primary challenge against Republican Congressman Steve Watkins.

Voting systems in the United States have come a long way since the hanging chads of the 2000 recount in Florida — but now cybersecurity is as big a concern as ballot fidelity.

Here's what you need to know.

The good news

Segment 1: What's up in northeast Johnson County?

As part of our continuing conversations with community newspaper editors, here's some inside perspective on the news in the Shawnee Mission Post. This episode's focus: contested municipal elections in Overland Park and Shawnee, and non-discrimination ordinances in several cities countywide.

Segment 2: The story of a new play inspired by the 30 Americans exhibit.

Missouri’s two likely nominees for the 2020 governor’s race have similar stances on gun reform measures needed in the state, but are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to access to abortion. 

Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway and Republican Gov. Mike Parson both spoke with members of the press at the annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia on Thursday. 

Parson has not officially entered the race yet, but Galloway, who announced her candidacy Monday, was critical of the incumbent’s leadership. 

State Auditor Nicole Galloway officially launched her 2020 gubernatorial bid on Monday morning, emphasizing her record as Missouri’s lone Democratic statewide official and criticizing how a GOP-controlled government has operated.

While Galloway will likely have little competition capturing the Democratic nomination for governor, in the general election, she will be dealing with an electorate that leans toward the GOP and the incumbent's financial advantage.

Segment 1: Normally obscure ballots in Kansas county drawing greater attention

Without a high-profile race for governor or Congress, the Johnson County, Kansas, primary elections are usually on the sleepy side. Not so this time around as controversies have made even the community college's open seats on its Board of Trustee highly-contested.

Angela Hsieh

Twenty Democratic presidential candidates will participate in the first primary debate of the 2020 cycle on Wednesday and Thursday night. Ten candidates will participate each night.

NPR News has live analysis and fact checks of the candidates' remarks.

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Segment 1: Post-election wrap-up with new Kansas City mayor.

Voters selected a new mayor for Kansas City, as well as some new council members. We spoke with mayor-elect Quinton Lucas then analyzed Tuesday's election results. 

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