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Moving Local KS Elections Could Increase Complexity

Voters casting ballots in Douglas County. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas lawmakers may pursue legislation to move municipal elections to the fall. Right now, votes for positions like local school boards are held in the spring and are non-partisan. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, supporters of the change hope moving the local elections would increase turnout.

Local election officials say moving the voting in Kansas would increase complexity and add cost.

But moving the spring elections to the fall would affect more than just the vote in November.

“The November election becomes complex, the August election becomes really complex.”

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew says there are questions about how they’d handle the primary in August. Would they need a new type of ballot created for city and school races just for people who don’t have a party on their voter registration?

“If you don’t do that then you’re saying an unaffiliated voter has to declare a party in order to vote for city and school (races), and there’s a lot of other issues there, too,” says Shew.

The move could also mean municipal races would become partisan. Some groups oppose the plan for that reason, because they want municipal elections to stay non-partisan.

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