Kansas saw a jump in voter turnout in many areas this year as local elections were moved from the spring to the fall, but there could be an even larger long-term impact.
Shawnee County saw voter turnout jump from 14 percent four years ago, to more than 19 percent this year. That’s still low compared to the presidential election last year, but County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell believes this election won’t show the full effect of the change. He suspects more voters may cast ballots in future years as they get in the habit of voting every fall.
“It does take time for people to recognize ‘I didn’t realize there was an election in November.’ As people become more aware of it over time, I do think it will have some cumulative effect there as well,” Howell said.
Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas counties also saw bumps in voter turnout this year. Sedgwick County turnout was flat compared to two years ago, but up slightly compared to 2013.