Archive for Sunday, October 29, 2006

Voter turnout raised in secretary of state race

October 29, 2006


David Haley

David Haley

Rob Hodgkinson

Rob Hodgkinson

Joseph Martin

Joseph Martin

Ron Thornburgh

Ron Thornburgh

Arguments about balloting and voter participation have highlighted the race for secretary of state, who serves as the state's chief election official.

The candidates are Ron Thornburgh of Topeka, the Republican incumbent; state Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan.; Rob Hodgkinson of Stilwell, who is chairman of the Libertarian Party of Kansas; and the Reform Party's Joseph Martin of St. Marys.

Many thought Thornburgh would run for governor, but he declined, saying it would have been too much strain on his family. Instead he seeks a third four-year term as secretary of state.

Thornburgh defeated a challenger on his right in the Republican Party primary, and then prepared for a rematch with Haley, whom he defeated in 2002 with 65 percent of the vote.

Haley survived a Democratic Party primary by less than one-half of a percentage point.

Haley, who has been in the Legislature since 1994, probably is best known for championing legislation to increase penalties for animal cruelty.

In the current campaign, he has said voters should be given a "paper trail" to verify votes that are cast electronically.

But Thornburgh counters that the current voting machines can be verified if a recount is needed.

Haley also has questioned whether Thornburgh has done enough to boost voter turnout, which hit a record low 18.2 percent in the August primary. Thornburgh has said the low turnout was caused by the low number of contested races.

Recently, Thornburgh came under fire after the state had to replace Spanish-language voter registration cards because the cards were confusing and different from the English version. Thornburgh also was chided because no one speaks Spanish at the voter-information hot line number printed on the card.


ksknowall 11 years, 6 months ago

For more information on the BEST candidate:

Rob Hodgkinson - Libertarian

Frank Smith 11 years, 6 months ago

Thornburg has pushed for a policy of consolidation of voting districts around the state. Where I voted, the polling place was removed and locals now have to vote at the county seat. At the time of the change, there wasn't any suitable road between the old polls and the new one. A dangerously potholed, 40-mile round trip was the only choice and the electorate of mostly elders were expected to drive that far to cast ballots in person. The county clerk, who has made mailed voting difficult also, had Thornburg's enthusiastic backing. Now the trip has been reduced to 29 miles, of which 11 miles is washboard on which there have been two recent rollovers resulting in one daytime death this month. Primary turnout has dropped from about 30% to 10%. If this is typical for rural Kansas, Thornburg should be tarred and feathered, rather than being endorsed for reelection.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.