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Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy

Voting is happening now; make a plan and vote

As of Oct. 14, Kansans are using advance ballots to vote by mail and in person. If you are registered to vote, you can use these opportunities to have your voice heard by voting conveniently and safely, whether that is in person or by mail before the final opportunity to vote on Election Day, Nov. 3. And to vote as an informed citizen, it's important to take a look at what you're voting on so you're not surprised. Who and what's on your ballot? Well, that depends where you are voting.

A "ballot style" is unique to your local voting district, with specific candidates and sometimes ballot questions to vote on. To see a Kansas ballot specific to your voting district:

  1. Go to the Kansas Secretary of State website
  2. Enter your first and last name and date of birth, then click "look up."
  3. Under "Election Details" click the sample ballot displayed based on your voting district.

For ballots from other states, visit gettothepolls.org and enter your address. View a sample ballot for Manhattan Ward 5 Precinct 2. You can do your research by finding out about candidate positions and ballots from a nonpartisan source, such as:

If you have requested a mail-in ballot, please be patient and wait for it to arrive so you can vote at your convenience. You can return it by mail or in person at the appropriate location. There are multiple options in Riley County, so you have many options to return your completed ballot safely and securely.

If you are registered to vote and did not request a mail-in ballot, you can advance vote in person. This can be done at the Riley County Courthouse or at the Kansas State University Student Union on the second floor in the Bluemont Room. The dates to vote in person on campus are as follows:

  • Monday, Oct. 19, through Friday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 26, through Friday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Final day: Monday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. to noon.

Answers to multiple questions about advance voting in Riley County — and in other counties across Kansas — can be found on the Riley County website.

Democracy offers us an opportunity to participate in self-governance. Voting is a critical element to ensuring democracy's future, impacting decisions all the way from the local to the national level.

National Voter Registration Day

Are you registered to vote? Is your address correct? Democracy depends on you--vote!

You can easily register to vote and determine your voting plan at ICDD's How to Vote in Three Steps resource.

How to Vote in Three Steps infographic


(September 22, 2020)


Youth Facilitators and Community Conversations: K-State Research and Extension and ICDD Partner 

Mian is a student in Riley County and has participated in Community Conversations through Kansas 4-H Youth Development. She has produced a short, 6-minute video introducing the idea of community conversations, why they are different from debate, and how to facilitate these conversations (even with a nod to the ICDD Principles of Civic Discourse). You can watch Mian's presentation below.

More about Mian

Mian is an 8th-grade student at Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Manhattan, Kansas. Her passions include the violin, debate, science, and art. Inspired by her father, who works as a Graphic Designer at K-State, and fueled by her love for art motivated her to explore graphic design and compete in the Kansas Student Technology Leadership Digital Media (Graphic Design) Competition.

Mian was also trained this year as a Youth Facilitator in Community Conversations through a partnership project with 4-H and her school. The Youth Facilitators served as leaders in many forums and she believed they could use a t-shirt logo to identify their role in the deliberation process. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience as a Youth Leader while growing in confidence, communication, and leadership. Although this was her first time designing a logo, she was delighted to offer her graphic design talent to support the important mission of the collaborative project. This logo visually represents the Youth Facilitator's role, to facilitate communication between people by finding common ground when discussing complex issues. Mian has demonstrated how Youth Leaders can take an idea and put it into action.

(July 9, 2020)

Community Conversations on Race and Reconciliation

Community Conversations on Race and Reconciliation (CCRR), a project of the Manhattan Nonviolence Initiative (MNVI), is following up its February in-person convocation with a program of online, small-group facilitated discussions.  To launch the program, a diverse 8-member steering team recorded one of their own group conversations based on the question “What were your earliest messages or formative experiences regarding race?” https://www.facebook.com/manhattanksConversations/

As with all facilitated conversations, the group agreed in advance on a protocol and principles for interaction, with Susanne Glymour, the MNVI Director, leading the dialogue and sharing her own experiences.  Members sought to model best practices as well as share personal stories, and the first half-hour recording was posted as “Part 1”, to be succeeded with the more interactive segment of follow-up questions and explorations.   

Just as the steering team began to edit Part 2, events across the county in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis called for a response, to which CCRR is now dedicating more facilitated online discussions.  Mindful of the urgent need to share diverse perspectives at a moment of combined social and health crises, the recording and distribution of these conversations is intentionally designed to demonstrate how to create a safe space for sincere and deep probing into one of our most polarizing and sensitive public issues – the racial disparities witnessed in every aspect of justice today. For more information contact: Susanne Glymour by email to manhattannonviolence@gmail.com  

ICDD partners are reporting on other small-group dialogues addressing race in Kansas communities.  In Wichita, the e-newsletter Building Bridges edited by Jan Schwartzendruber reports on a Zoom series  named Discomfort and Grace hosted by Danielle Johnson of Wichita State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Joseph Shepherd, Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life at Newman University, and others.  This is a series of informal small discussions with local leaders representing diverse racial-cultural segments of Wichita.  

(June 3, 2020)

ICDD leadership changes and new administrative home begin July 1

Effective July 1, the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy will move to its new home within the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and will be directed by Timothy Shaffer, Associate Professor of Communication Studies.  He has served as Assistant Director of ICDD since 2016. 

Dr. Shaffer brings his expertise in deliberative democracy, civic education, and group communication to grow and enrich the work of ICDD. He is associate editor of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy; research specialist with the National Institute for Civil Discourse; country expert on deliberative democracy with the Varieties of Democracy research project housed at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; member of the Teaching, Training, and Mentoring Committee of Participedia; and a member of the Rapid Response Team of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy that developed the national Coming Together for Racial Understanding training program. He has edited four books exploring deliberative pedagogy, dialogue and deliberation in higher education, civil discourse, and civic professionalism in addition to dozens of articles and chapters. 

After serving as the founding director of ICDD since 2004, David Procter will be returning to the faculty of the Communication Studies Department, but will continue to be involved with the Institute.  Administrative support services overseen by Chandra Ruthstrom will be directed through Melissa Winkel.  The position of program manager held by Donna Schenck-Hamlin will be terminated, but Donna remains affiliated with ICDD on externally funded projects.  Email, website, calendar, and archival records will be maintained by Communication Studies staff. 

(See full next story in K-State Today, May 29, 2020)