Archive for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kansas House considers bill to move city, school board elections to coincide with state and national races

February 16, 2010


— A House committee is considering a bill that would move local elections to the same days as elections for national and state votes.

The House Education Committee heard debate Monday on the idea of moving elections for such things as city council and school boards from the spring of odd-numbered years to the fall.

Committee chairman Steve Huebert, a Valley Center Republican, says the move would increase turnout for the local elections. He says it also would save money, but it wasn't clear how much.

Representatives of cities and schools object to the idea. They say the nonpartisan school and city races would become more partisan if they are on the same ballot as national and state races.

The committee didn't take action on the bill.


OutlawJHawk 7 years, 11 months ago

If it will save money, do it. Our state needs all of the money it can get...

Now, move on and find something else to help with our budget crisis.

matchbox81 7 years, 11 months ago

Great idea! Yes, it will have the negative effect of turning local elections more partisan, but will have the much more positive effect of getting more of the population to pay attention to the offices that actually affect local property and sales taxes, local issues, and city services

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 11 months ago

I would support this approach. Indeed, I'll write out a letter to my representative and my senator right after lunch.

hammerhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

This sounds like a pretty good idea on face value. I have been involved in numerous school board elections and many times some last minute person signs up when no one else is running and becomes a real problem because he/she comes with a gripe or complaint. A little more publicity about people running is usually a really good thing.

kugrad 7 years, 11 months ago

Pros: Saves money

Cons: People who are unknowledable about school board candidates and their qualifications will vote anyway. These votes are likely to be along party lines. Currently, the school board elections are one of the only elections we have where partisan politics plays little role. Introducing partisanship, a 2-way sword, would be a strong negative.

WilburM 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree with KU grad for the most part. I think that city and school board elections would get swallowed up by national contests -- very difficult to have a debate focused on local issues.

And honestly, higher turnout is not an absolute good, especially if many voters know almost nothing about local races.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

If it increases voter turnout, this could be a good thing.

With low voter turnout, narrow, well-funded special interests can and do dominate. That's certainly been the case in Lawrence for the last several decades.

gccs14r 7 years, 11 months ago

"Currently, the school board elections are one of the only elections we have where partisan politics plays little role."

Really? Have you forgotten about the science standards debacle?

Jimo 7 years, 11 months ago

Overdue. Far too often these local elections turn on heavy turn-out from unrepresentative voters while the average Joe is still "tired" from politics in the last general election.

Rather than being concerned about these voters being "unknowledgeable," in reality they're a useful counterweight to the self-interested who turn out to push their agendas.

kugrad 7 years, 11 months ago

"Currently, the school board elections are one of the only elections we have where partisan politics plays little role.”

"Really? Have you forgotten about the science standards debacle? "

No, I was referring to the local school boards, not the state school board. Sorry, I should have been more clear.

Bozo, I don't think it is accurate to say any well-funded special interests have controlled school board elections in recent years. There tends to be very low turnout and very poorly funded campaigns. Basically only people with any interest in schools or are friends with a candidate show up. Since hardly anyone watches the one or two televised forums and probably even fewer show up at the live forum the League of Women Voters has, I think it is safe to say most people don't know much about any of the candidates. Certainly the LJW coverage is very light and superficial, nothing that would really illuminate choices all that much. .

cato_the_elder 7 years, 11 months ago

The legislature should use this opportunity to change school board terms from four to two years. Many more people would run if we had two-year terms.

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