Archive for Monday, October 22, 2012

Editorial: Discouraging number

It’s sad to see voter registration in Douglas County going down.

October 22, 2012


The preliminary voter registration numbers for Douglas County announced last week are disappointing.

Despite the fact that the nation faces a pivotal presidential election along with many important state and local races, the county’s voter registration now is about 7 percent below the number in 2008, the last presidential election year. As of last week, the county had 78,402 registered voters, compared with 84,440 in 2008. County Clerk Jamie Shew said additional registrations that are mailed in or forwarded from the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles this week will cause that number to rise by maybe 1,000, but it still will be well below four years ago.

The only explanation Shew offered for the decline was that his office had received fewer registrations from college campuses than in 2008. Perhaps college-age students are less inspired by this election than the one four years ago. There also is a chance that both students and other potential voters were confused or discouraged by the new Kansas law that requires voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls. Kansas University IDs are issued by a government entity and can be used at the polls. Student IDs issued by a private school, like Baker University are valid but those issued to Baker faculty and staff are not. The decline in students registered in Douglas County may become even more pronounced after Jan. 1, when a new state law will require people registering in Kansas for the first time to show proof of U.S. citizenship.

The county’s voter registration has declined despite the fact that its population actually grew by about a 1.2 percent in the last census. The decline appears to be a nonpartisan affair. Democratic registration in the county dropped by about 7 percent while Republican registration dropped by about 8 percent. Registration of unaffiliated voters fell by about 3.4 percent.

Some Democrats may be discouraged from voting by the prospect that their vote in the presidential election might not matter in a state that’s almost certain to support the Republican candidate. That’s a weak excuse, especially when this year’s redistricting has produced so many competitive congressional and legislative races. Local voters also will decide an important Douglas County Commission race.

Douglas County has a less-than-stellar record for voter turnout. Only about 13 percent of registered voters showed up for last August’s primary election. It would be a sad commentary if the only way the county can boost its turnout figure is by lowering its overall registration.


fan4kufootball 1 year, 5 months ago

People should not vote just because they can. All who vote should inform themselves with the canidates and issues on the ballot. If your not going to take the responsibility of informing yourself with the canidates or the issues then stay home.


classclown 1 year, 5 months ago

I considered sitting this one out, but I voted for Nancy Thellman last time and I intend to vote against her this time in order to attempt to right a wrong. It may not make a difference, but at least my conscience will be clear.


patkindle 1 year, 5 months ago

excepting local elections, kansas voters have very little impact on electiions.

plus the national elections are a joke anyway


1 year, 5 months ago

It's a two-sided coin. As many have well-said here, it makes very little sense to stay home just because one of your candidates might lose. This is not picking horses, but employees. Obama will lose Kansas and Toby will lose his race - that doesn't mean there aren't half a dozen other people on the ballot who could use your vote.

That said, there is nothing to be gained simply by more people voting; in some ways, the election result is not the sum of the voters' knowledge, but the average. While democratic (small d) cheerleaders assume that more turnout means that more people are engaged politically; not only is it not true, it would not even be helpful if it was. More people voting because of a single race to which they are emotionally attached usually means half a dozen down-ballot votes cast in almost complete ignorance, not only of the people running but of the position itself.

In those cases, the fewer votes cast, the better off we are. Why the selection of 15% of people who understand the school board race (to pick one example) is improved by adding in the opinions of the other 85% who know nothing about it has never really been explained.


3up3down 1 year, 5 months ago

I pay much closer attention to the 435 + 50 to give us a better quaility of life the either of the possible two top dogs. Not too thrilled about the debates especially the last one. To kids on the playground trying to talk over the other. I swear I was watching the movie "Dumb and Dumber" again.


Agnostick 1 year, 5 months ago

"Why vote?"


Well, let's see...

  1. It's your responsibility, first and foremost

  2. It's your right... and it's mainly your right because...

  3. Certain brave men and women sacrificed their lives, or livelihood, so that you may exercise your right!

Don't worry about the odds. Let the others stay at home and piddle and cry in their coffee. YOU get out there and VOTE (regardless who you're voting for)!!!


bd 1 year, 5 months ago

game over!

tea anyone??? : )


Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 5 months ago

Well, I was going to jump in here, but apparently others are way ahead of me.

Why even bother to vote in Kansas? The tea bag soaked voters in Kansas west of Topeka are so addled by the Koch bought and paid for candidates that they will will swing the state to the facist Republicans. There is simply no point in an informed voter to bother in Kansas, the outcome with slugs like Roberts, Moron, Brownbackwards and Koldbach is not in doubt.

The hicks and rubes rule the electoral votes from bleeding and flyover Kansas are a lock for the extremists and always will be until Heartland USA has an awakening.


atiopatioo 1 year, 5 months ago

What is the IQ basis score to be considered disenfranchised material?


Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 5 months ago

We cant all be like Colorado and run on a $500,000,000 deficit.


kippcolorado 1 year, 5 months ago

Why would anyone care to register to vote in Kansas at all anymore? The Koch Brothers simply annoint whoever they want, and Dolph Simons, Jr. will endorse whatever criminals are assigned to the transfer of wealth from ordinary Kansans to their corporate interests. Why bother to vote? Better off moving to another state where the Republican Taliban haven't taken over completely. I used to like and appreciate Kansas. Now I won't spend a dime or a minute there until they rejoin America.


Les Blevins 1 year, 5 months ago

It’s discouraging and sad to see voter registration in Douglas County going down and it’s discouraging and sad to see the administration in Topeka selling out the public's trust to wealthy oil donors. I wonder if there might be some connection. Hmmm?


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