Times certainly have changed. Years ago, the Douglas County Republican and Democratic central committees played an active and prominent role in the local election process.
The committees worked hard to encourage voter registration and provided much assistance to both incumbent candidates and challengers. Various party activities generated much election interest and enthusiasm among the general public.
Chairmen of the Democratic and GOP county committees were well known and engaged in an intense, but friendly and respectful, battle for votes. Contests were held to encourage voter registration and see which party could record the greatest percentage gains on the voter rolls.
At one time, the Lawrence and Douglas County party organizations challenged all other first-class Kansas cities to see which could have the highest percentage of voter turnout at the polls.
Unfortunately, it's a whole new ball game with both Republican and Democratic central committees having a very low profile and sponsoring very few public activities. In today's political world, money and fundraising is the central issue. Fraudulent voter registration and fraudulent voting are major problems, and candidates' truthfulness is a common issue.
This is particularly true at the national level and in larger cities, but it would be helpful and reassuring if local political organizations gave area residents the assurance they were on top of registration and voting practices.
Candidates who make the sacrifice to seek office, whether they are incumbents or challengers, deserve the backing and support of their party's central committee. It's one thing to urge an individual to seek office and tell that person he or she will have the party's support, but too often, after candidates decide to run, they find themselves all alone with little of the promised help and support.
It is unfortunate Douglas County Republican and Democratic organizations are not as prominent and active as they were years ago.