At this point, it’s not clear how adverse weather conditions may affect today’s primary election to narrow the field of Lawrence City Commission candidates.
What is clear is that Douglas County is fortunate to have a county clerk who goes above and beyond the call of duty to try to maximize voter participation in local, state and national elections. After learning last week that a second large snowstorm was forecast for Monday night and today, County Clerk Jamie Shew made the quick decision to add advance voting hours on Sunday afternoon to give people more opportunities to cast their ballots. A thousand people who might not have been willing or able to get to the polls today responded by voting on Sunday at the courthouse. Shew also began formulating contingency plans to make sure polling places are open today “regardless of the weather.”
City commission and school board elections — and especially primaries — traditionally draw a low voter turnout in Lawrence, and weather concerns today may aggravate that problem. However, Shew’s extra efforts should serve as a reminder of the importance of every election and as an inspiration for voters to make every effort to participate in today’s primary balloting.