To the editor:
Current legislation pending before the Kansas House and Senate election committees (HB 2227 and SB 211) is a classic example of a solution in search of a problem. If the legislation is approved, it would move local general elections to November and make them partisan races. Even if SB 145 is approved, which keeps local elections in odd-numbered years but moves them to August (primary) and November (general) and makes them partisan races, it is unlikely to increase voter turnout.
It is well-established that Kansas has a strong respect for local ordinances. There is no greater example than that of independent, nonpartisan elections. The current structure maintains the autonomy of cities and counties, and provides the necessary independent dialogue for effective elections. Although it is true that you can never separate politics from elections, local races center much more on issues. Voters can discuss these issues directly with their representatives and candidates at any time. It is the essence of grass-roots democracy and essential for effective governance. The requirement for partisan elections will only damage the current dialogue.
In the interest of voter education and local autonomy, I encourage voters to contact their legislators and express their opposition to these changes.