Despite the buzz created nationally by the presidential race, Kansas party and elected officials say efforts to generate a strong election turnout on Tuesday are muted by a lack of statewide races.
Kansas is experiencing an odd cycle in which there are no statewide races on the ballot. Typically, even in years where the governor is on the ticket, there is one U.S. Senate race campaign to push voters to the polls.
Not so in 2012, prompting officials with the Kansas Republican Party and Secretary of State Kris Kobach to temper any optimism that Tuesday's general election will set records.
"I would say that there will be thousands, maybe of hundreds of thousands, of Republicans who will vote in parts of the state where there is no hotly contested legislative race because they just really want to cast a ballot for (Mitt) Romney," the Republican secretary of state said.
Kobach said the personal satisfaction for Republicans and Democrats to vote for their presidential candidate was a strong pull, but not necessarily enough to drive turnout beyond his prediction of 68 percent.
Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas GOP, said the lack of competitive congressional races in two of the four districts also hurts get-out-the-vote efforts.
"There aren't any Kevin Yoder coattails," Barker said, a reference to the Republican 3rd District congressman who faces only a Libertarian on Tuesday's ballot. "The responsibility falls a little more on the party."
Campaigns were working the last few days to make those final appeals, either in person or over the telephone.
"We're spending a lot of time on the telephone. Everyone is getting cauliflower ear," said Diane Silver, communications director for Tobias Schlingensiepen, a Democrat running against incumbent Rep. Lynn Jenkins in the 2nd District race.
Kobach said even though voters can easily request advance ballots -- they can go online for a form -- it's not as potent has having a candidate's campaign send them a form in the mail.
"That does seem to push a higher number of people to vote by mail," Kobach said.
Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon dismisses the idea that a U.S. Senate race drives turnout. Typically, she said, it's the presidential race that drives turnout for both parties. Wagnon noted that a Democrat hasn't run a truly competitive U.S. Senate race since Jill Docking in 1996, against Brownback, and, of course, one hasn't won since George McGill in 1932.
She acknowledged, "I don't think we're going to get all the Democrats who came out of the woodwork, who we'd never seen before, because Obama won't pull them back in a second time."
And, she said, competitive legislative races can spur turnout locally. She said legislative candidates knock on doors and contact potential voters personally.
"Get out the vote gets to be a lot more personally targeted," she said. "It's a whole different ground game."
Barker said the trick for parties was finding a way to coax so-called "episodic" voters to the polls, those who were excited about a particular race one year but haven't voted since.
"Giving people a patriotic speech about their duty to vote doesn't work. They blow it off," Barker said.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who has been actively supporting conservative legislative candidates, spent two days on the back of a motorcycle to beat the drum one more time for GOP candidates. Brownback is expected to enjoy large GOP majorities when the 2013 legislative session starts in January.
"We got a lot of door-to-door, we got a lot of walking, got a lot of calling that needs to take place in between now and election day," Brownback said. "It's gonna be a great election."