TOPEKA — Once again, it looks like Kansans won't be voting in a presidential primary.
The state Senate voted Wednesday to cancel next year's scheduled Kansas presidential primaries to save $1.3 million. The bill still must go to the House.
Senate Bill 128 crosses the year 2012 out of a state law that says when presidential primaries should be held.
The next possible primary would be 2016, a 24-year gap since Kansans last had an election to express support for national candidates and apportion delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
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Secretary of State Kris Kobach had asked the Legislature to either skip the 2012 primary or approve $1.3 million in state money to pay for it.
Most years, the selections of national candidates are essentially over before Kansas would vote, and the decision on convention delegates falls to a caucus of a relatively small core of party activists and insiders.
However, in 2008, competitive races drew large numbers to party caucuses across the state.
Democrats especially overcrowded local caucus meetings, spurred primarily by enthusiasm for their eventual nominee, Barack Obama.
GOP caucus turnout was also higher than usual as Kansas Republicans turned out to support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's bid for the presidency, although he substantially trailed the eventual nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
President Obama is expected to easily win Democratic renomination for 2012, but Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, said he voted to hold a primary anyway to make it more convenient for Republicans to participate in selecting their nominee.
He also said that as a senator and a candidate for secretary of state, he had promised to support primaries and the right to vote.
In another election-related measure, the Senate approved a bill to require state candidates to follow federal example and add their name and the phrase "I approve this message" to their television and radio spots.
Senate Bill 145's chief proponent, Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, said it won't put an end to anonymous attack ads in campaigns.
But she said it would make it easier for voters to tell which ads come from the candidates' campaigns and which come from outside groups.
She said research shows that voters tend to give more credence to ads authorized by the candidates than they do third-party advertising.
The bill also would not affect so-called "issue ads" by outside groups that attack or praise candidates without explicitly calling for a vote for or against them, Schmidt said.