Area residents have done a relatively good job of filling the ballots for the upcoming legislative and county commission elections.
Primary elections are slated in every area legislative race, and some good candidates have come forward to challenge incumbents and run for open seats. Both Republicans and Democrats are running in all the races.
The local situation is in contrast to some areas across the state. When the filing deadline passed for the 125 Kansas House districts, 14 had been essentially won by Democrats and 11 by Republicans. Eleven Democratic incumbents will face no competition from either inside or outside their parties. The same is true for seven Republican incumbents and one Republican newcomer. That means that about 15 percent of the next Kansas Legislature has been elected before voters even go to the polls.
The lack of interest statewide in running for the Legislature is particularly disappointing in light of the amount of criticism leveled at the lawmakers during the session that ended in April. It would seem logical that citizens who had expressed such strong displeasure with the way the Legislature handled the state property tax situation and other issues would be willing to step forward and try to tackle some of those problems themselves.
In Douglas County, several people have done just that and should be congratulated for their interest and concern. The rest of us still have a chance to show some responsibility for the future of our county and state by participating in the upcoming primary and general elections.
The county clerk's voter registration books will remain open until July 22 for people who want to register or switch their party affiliation before the primary election. The books will be reopened on Aug. 8 and remain open until Oct. 21 to allow registration for the general election.
Area candidates have provided a good example by filling the election ballots. Now county residents should respond by filling the polling places in August.