Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes doesn't think tonight's Kansas University-Duke game for the national collegiate basketball championship should affect voter turnout in Tuesday's general election.
"I don't really think that it will have that much effect on voting," Mrs. Jaimes said this morning. "The people who tend to vote and are interested in city and school elections will turn out and vote tomorrow."
Then again, she said, there has never been such a conflict between a passionate pastime and an exercise in democracy.
"It's really kind of hard to tell," Mrs. Jaimes said. "We'll see tomorrow night."
One byproduct of the Final Four tournament in Indianapolis has been an increase in the number of requests for absentee ballots. Mrs. Jaimes said her office had handled 581 such requests as of this morning, a number she considered high.
To encourage voting, Mrs. Jaimes said that all 51 precincts in the county will receive 100 stickers that read, "Feel the Power, Your Vote Counts." The stickers will be given to early voters, she said, so they can wear the message to remind other people to vote. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mrs. Jaimes is predicting a voter turnout between 32 percent and 37 percent for the election. About 30 percent of the registered voters went to the polls in Lawrence and Douglas County in the Feb. 26 primary.
The election features city and school board races in Lawrence, Baldwin, Eudora and Lecompton. Baldwin voters also will decide whether to increase their sales tax a half-cent to pay for a new library.
Voters throughout the county will decide if the county should issue $493,750 in bonds to widen U.S. Highway 40 (Sixth Street) between Monterey Way and Wakarusa Drive. The city of Lawrence already has pledged that same amount to the project, and the state is contributing $1,837,500 to widen the road to four lanes.