Archive for Sunday, October 10, 2010

Election interest abated

Officials say that only about half the advance ballots have been requested this year as were in 2006.

October 10, 2010


Douglas County images from 2008 and the excitement of the presidential election are vivid for those who follow politics.

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Deadline: Voter Registration

Oct. 18 — a week from Monday — is the deadline to register to vote to be eligible to participate in the Nov. 2 general election. The Douglas County Clerk’s office, 1100 Mass., will be open until 7 p.m. that day to handle registrations. Advance voting begins Wednesday. In-person ballots can be cast at the courthouse. Election officials will also begin mailing requested ballots that day.

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One night in February hundreds of people stood out in lines in the rain and cold just to get into Democratic caucus sites.

Residents attended political rallies in the region, and students were often in a frenzy on the Kansas University campus.

Douglas County was one of only three counties in Republican-leaning Kansas to support Barack Obama over John McCain for president, and a small celebration broke out on Massachusetts Street late in the evening after the election.

Two years later, with the Nov. 2 midterm election looming, much of that political enthusiasm in Lawrence has faded — and not simply from two years ago.

“In a presidential year, there’s always more enthusiasm and more turnout than a gubernatorial year,” Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said. “We have noticed a little less activity than we’ve actually seen in other gubernatorial election years.”

Shew said last week his office only had 1,900 requests for advance-voting ballots they will begin to mail out Wednesday. That’s less than half of the 4,000 ballots requested on the first day of advance voting in 2006.

Emma Halling, president of the KU Young Democrats, said she has noticed less interest in the election from younger voters and students on campus as her group has tried to put on political events.

“People aren’t seeing it as much in the media. You don’t have one over-reaching nationwide campaign like the Obama campaign that gets everybody out on their feet,” said Halling, an Elkhart, Ind., freshman. “It’s kind of harder to get people out and because they don’t know the candidates names as much especially.”

Don Haider-Markel, a KU political science professor, said it’s typical for enthusiasm in a midterm election to drop significantly from a presidential election year. This year might feel like a larger drop, especially for Democrats because they had so much momentum in 2006, President Bush’s last midterm election.

“One could argue that for Democrats especially they’re at about their normal midterm election enthusiasm level,” he said.

Nationally, the political story seems to be if Republicans can gain enough seats to take back control of the House, and maybe the Senate. Voter anger seems to be an advantage of Republicans, Haider-Markel said.

And Bill Benso, a member of the Douglas County Republican Party’s executive committee, said some of that is showing up here as well.

“There’s just kind of a general angst about the current state of the economy,” he said.

But he says this type of enthusiasm is not getting as much attention because not as many KU students are involved like in 2008.

Shew said it can be frustrating to have less political enthusiasm during nonpresidential election years, especially when local and state offices are at stake.

“For the races that are involved and the issues that are involved, we should have the same amount of enthusiasm as we had two years ago,” Shew said. “In a perfect world.”


ralphralph 5 years ago

Alas. There is no real hope and change. May as well stay home.

JustNoticed 5 years ago

Perhaps more folks are seeing through the veil and understand that campaign rhetoric has little to do with what happens after an election. Campaign issues are merely the distractions used to divide us and deliver our votes. After the election, what the legislators will actually do is determined by who put them in office and that isn't the voters, it's the money that steered our votes one way or the other. That's the ring they kiss, that is who they serve, not you and me. Until that is changed, nothing else really matters.

justsaying 5 years ago

I think the mid-terms are every bit as important, if not more so, as the Presidential elections. Your vote really counts in the mid-terms and local elections. I'm hoping that people realize more now than ever that it is the Senate that has been the real problem for the working class.

love2fish_ks 5 years ago

The change I voted for did not come. Maybe in the beginning if the R's had a few more seats in the senate and the house we would have better cooperation. I was delighted the D's had absolute control. In retrospect this was very bad. No incentive for cooperation. Absolute power was/is bad. Our focus as D's has been on everything but jobs and job 1 should be jobs.

No excitement this time. The unknown change has become known. We D's have lost our way.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Republicans have solid history on job losses,destroying economies,ruining retirement plans and eliminating medical insurance coverage as a result.

How do they go about that?

This is what I mean:

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist "There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and were part of the Bush Jr. administration.

Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this was about one quarter of our national debt").

The Reagan/Bush savings and loan heist was considered the largest theft in history at the time. George Herbert Walker Bush then took $1.4 trillion of taxpayers money to cover the theft.

  1. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers Yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities."

  2. Only 3 major Financial Institutions were at risk in spite of what we’re told ? "There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America and Citigroup, Those three were clearly in very weakened form. Many of the other big banks simply were not.

  3. Privatizing Social Security Would Place the Nations Economy at Risk "Social Security privatization will raise the size of the government's deficit to nearly $700 billion per year for the next 20 years, almost tripling the size of the national debt.

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk--it would likely put the entire economy at risk."

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = tax increases for the middleclass.

BigPrune 5 years ago

It's the economy stupid

We are better off today than 2 years ago, Obama said so

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