Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2017

Douglas County mailer drives huge increase in advance voting interest for upcoming 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.

October 19, 2017


Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew considers the $27,000 his office spent sending mailers to county voters money well spent.

The mailers informed county voters there would be Nov. 7 elections for city officials and school board members and contained an application for an advance ballot. Shew said 4,600 of the advance ballot applications were returned, and those ballots were sent Wednesday to voters. In past city and school board elections, which were conducted in the spring, the clerk’s office had about 400 requests for applications, he said.

“We don’t generally do mailers for local elections, because we don’t know about the cost versus the turnout," Shew said. "What this shows me is that it was money well spent. The results were far better than expected. Now, the next step is making sure people fill out those ballots and return them.”

The clerk’s office will use social media to remind voters to return the filled-out ballots, Shew said. The campaigns of various city and school board candidates would also urge voters to return the ballots, he said.

Further pleasing Shew was the number of registered voters who hadn't participated in past local elections but requested ballots this time around. More than half the advance ballot requests were from voters who had never before voted in city and school board elections.

“I’m thrilled we captured so many people who have never voted in local elections before,” he said. “The knowledge an election is occurring does drive participation.”

Advance ballots with a postmark of election day, Nov. 7, will be counted if they arrive at the clerk’s office by Friday, Nov. 10, Shew said. That election-day mailing option is new this year and was a result of him and other voting-rights advocates lobbying the Kansas Legislature for the change, he said. Also new is the option for voters to drop off advance ballots at any election-day polling site in the county, he said.

Although he is a supporter of the election-day mailing option, Shew encourages voters to mail their advance ballots to the clerk’s office as soon as possible.

In-person advance voting started Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., and will continue through noon Monday, Nov. 6, Shew said.


Steve Jacob 5 months ago

I have said it before, I really liked the elections being moved to November. There will be more votes cast then any other school board or city commission election ever.

Bob Smith 5 months ago

Lara is another lousy, rotten spammer.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months ago

LOL You got caught like I did the other day. I made a comment about a spammer, then they removed the spammer, and left my comment. I guess we are all in agreement about the spammers.

Richard Heckler 5 months ago

Sales Tax Issue

Vote NO then send it back to the city commission for a revised ballot:

=== 0.05%% dedicated specifically to Public Transit is necessary for low income families, students, seniors who can no longer drive and for those who cannot afford to own a vehicle and for those who choose not to own a vehicle

=== .3% dedicated specifically to Affordable Housing as it seems there is a huge need for such and would provide enough money to make a substantial impact. Who provides the best bang for the tax buck and tenants? Tenants to Homeowners

=== .2% dedicated specifically to the following which improves the quality of life throughout Lawrence,Kansas and provides safe travel for a broad spectrum of the population.

== recreational path infrastructure/recreational trails and paths

=== safe travel walk to school and back home

Why is this important?

Reduces travel costs

Promotes an active and healthy lifestyle

Expands mobility options for all in Lawrence,Kansas

Provides environmental benefits through reduced traffic congestion which in turn improves air quality.

The collection of such sales tax to commence on April 1, 2019 and shall terminate ten years after its commencement, all in accordance with the provisions of K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 12-187 et seq., and amendments thereto?”

Richard Heckler 5 months ago

It seems to me the following were being addressed for many decades before a special tax was put before the taxpayers through budgets and such:

public streets

storm water facilities

traffic calming

residential curb and gutter replacement

reconstruction of roads and intersections

purchasing fire apparatus and related fire equipment including radios and personal protective equipment.

Where is the money? Where did it go?

Do taxpayers want to use tax dollars being held in reserve funds for some of this?

I am not necessarily opposed to taxes funding these issues. What I am opposed to is open ended use of special sales tax dollars = heater skelter spending.

Dedicated tax dollars eliminates helter skelter spending of any tax dollars thus we see accomplishments. Obviously I view my three choices as accomplishments.

Call for a special vote. The end product would more than pay for the cost of a special vote. A worthwhile endeavor.

The community also might want to think about pushing a no sales tax on groceries or no more than 1%.

How many would accept a reduction in property assessment values? This would be a tax reduction. Lower taxes on property could induce lower rents? Which would be helpful to lower income families. And to my wallet as well.

Cille King 5 months ago

I attended the League of Women Voters Sales Tax -facts, pros and cons last night at Plymouth Congressional Church last night.
The discussion convinced me that we should pass the 3 sales tax renewals. It helps those who need help the most more than not passing them or going to property taxes to pay for these things (what we had before the sales tax and the only other way to pay for city expenses),

Passing them now allows for contracts for bus service, planning for improvements, time to apply for matching funds (you can't ask for matching funds if you don't have any to match). I learned that many of the projects covered - bus service, infrastructure, receive the largest share from grants - but if we don't have the seed money - we can't apply for the grants.

Bus service contracts expire at the same time as the current sales tax. It can take a year of more to negotiate those contracts - meaning it's better to pass the tax renewal now, than waiting until next Nov, with just 4 months left before current tax expiration.

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