Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John, recently told constituents that the Legislature hasn’t given up on the idea of doing away with April elections. The idea is to add city and school board races to November ballots and perhaps boost election turnout. There has also been talk of making them partisan races.
Holmes didn’t say whether or not he approves of the idea. In 2014, the Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee, which he chairs, was writing a report on the pros and cons of moving all elections to one date in November.
Local elections officers who testified to the committee in December didn’t seem too keen on the idea. One problem is that counties with paper ballots might end up needing two page-ballots. Barton County is considering returning to paper ballots.
At a 2014 Legislative Coffee in Hoisington, Sen. Holmes heard from at least one school official who didn’t like the idea. Partisan elections are irrelevant to local offices, but finding someone willing to run can be difficult.
There are other ways to increase voter turnout. For starters, we could remove unnecessary hurdles to completing registration.
The main message Holmes was making when he talked about this at the Ellinwood coffee was that the Legislature may have a number of significant bills this year. While the problems of the budget will be getting a lot of notice, other issues may fly under the radar.
Kansas voters have been warned, and it is to be hoped that they do pay attention to what the Legislature is up to.
Amber Alert - Olivia Jansen, Kansas City