Archive for Monday, July 24, 2017

Advance voter turnout ‘extremely low’ so far for local primary elections

A gathering of stickers along the counter at the Douglas County Courthouse awaited early voters, Nov. 3, 2016.

A gathering of stickers along the counter at the Douglas County Courthouse awaited early voters, Nov. 3, 2016.

July 24, 2017


Douglas County officials say early voting in primary elections is off to an “extremely slow” start.

Nearly two weeks after early voting began for the Lawrence City Commission and Lecompton school board primaries, only about 275 people have cast their ballots, according to Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew.

Shew said those numbers are only a fraction of those cast in previous years.

“The 2015 total advance vote was 948,” Shew said. “And we’re less than a week out from advance voting (ending) and we haven’t even voted a third of that number yet.”

This is the first year for a new election schedule, in which primary elections take place Aug. 1 ahead of the general election on Nov. 7. Early voting began July 12, and the total number of votes received so far includes in-person ballots and those received by mail.

The City Commission primary includes eight candidates for three open seats and is the only question on the ballot for Lawrence voters. Typically, primary elections are held when the number of candidates who file is more than three times the number of open seats. In 2008, however, the commission enacted a home-rule measure that necessitated a primary when the number of candidates is more than twice the number of open seats.

Polling places are also open in Lecompton for the school board primary election, in which four candidates filed for a seat.

Shew said August has always been a difficult time to get people interested in a primary, and he thinks that is especially true in Lawrence because of the University of Kansas' academic calendar.

“A lot of people go on vacation and there is a lot going on, so trying to get people's attention that there’s an election can be difficult,” Shew said.

The terms of City Commissioners Lisa Larsen, Mike Amyx and Matthew Herbert are expiring this year. The candidates are Herbert, Larsen, Jennifer Ananda, Bassem Chahine, Dustin Stumblingbear, Ken Easthouse, Mike Anderson and Christian Lyche. The primary election will narrow the field from eight candidates to six.

The four Lecompton school board candidates are Debra Walburn, Stephanie Confer, Nick Fergus and Brad Guess. The primary will eliminate one of the candidates. In Lecompton, voters can cast advance ballots at Lecompton City Hall, 327 Elmore St., and Big Springs United Methodist Church, 96 Highway 40.

Early voting in Lawrence can be done between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. The last day to request an advance ballot to be mailed is Tuesday. Advance voting closes at noon July 31, and the primary election is Aug. 1.


Clark Coan 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Many are out of town, esp. schoolteachers and professors. Others are laidback because of the heat. I was second to vote and voted for Larsen, Ananda and Stumblingbear. Respected and trusted longtime neighborhood activist K.T. Walsh endorsed these candidates.

Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

That ballot should motivate every person in this city who loves this city to get out and vote the exact opposite - like tomorrow.

Larry Sturm 4 months, 3 weeks ago

That is why Brownback and the Republican changed the voting date call it disenfranchising the voters.

Steve Jacob 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Disagree, more people will vote in the November election then would have if this election was still in April.

Ralph Gage 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello, J-W, Must mean you need to start your series on the candidates much, much earlier, to conclude before voting starts...

Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Or.....people could wait to vote until election day when they have a full understanding of each candidate.

Ken Lassman 4 months, 3 weeks ago

If the Secretary of State put as much energy into getting folks to register and participate in the elections as he does looking for those pesky alien voters, maybe we would be seeing better results. Proof that he's created a straw dog while the real issue goes unaddressed.

Tom Weiss 4 months, 3 weeks ago

who knew there was a primary coming up! I don't recall having received any official notification of it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 3 weeks ago

If you keep yourself informed, then you would know they changed the local elections to November, just like the state and national elections, just on opposite years. Their reasoning is people are used to voting in November and it will draw a larger turn out. Not sure if it's going to work, but we will see. When they ended up with over 6 candidates to fill the 3 slots, LJW announced there would need to be a primary. Local offices are non partisan (thankfully), so there isn't a lot of money for their campaigns. But it is noteworthy to research who helped fund their campaigns. And, as you drive around town, there are all kinds of campaign signs everywhere, at least in my part of town.

In the article there are links to the profiles, but they haven't finished all of them yet. Please read these and either vote in advance, or go to your poll and vote. You will be choosing three of the candidates.

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