What will be the top free Kansas City area attraction in 2012?
It could be the Johnson County Election Office.
The Kansas City Business Journal has just released its Top 25 Area Attractions based on 2011 attendance.
If you considered "attendance," to be the same as "number of votes cast," our attendance of 57,550 votes in 2011 didn't even crack the top 25. The Harry S. Truman Library & Museum is number 25 with 2011 attendance of 98,000.
In 2012, we've already had 48,150 votes cast, still a far cry out of the top 25.
But, if our 2012 August and November election numbers are the same as in 2008, we'd finish with 411,026 votes cast. A modest 10,000 voter increase because of registration growth from these two elections would put us at approximately 421,000 votes.
That would be good enough for 10th on the area attraction list this year. If 2012 numbers are the same as in 2011, here's how it would look:
1. Kansas City Power and Light District 9,000,000
2. Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City 3,364,177
3. Harrah's North Kansas City Casino and Hotel 2,553,000
4. Kansas City Royals Baseball Club 1,724,370
5. Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun 1,300,000
6. The City Market 720,000
7. Kansas City Zoo 713,813
8. Kansas City Chiefs Football Club 700,000
9. Kansas Speedway 600,000
10. JOHNSON COUNTY ELECTIONS 421,000 (votes cast)
11. Watkins Woolen Mill State Park 420,000
12. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 410,000
13. Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead 400,000
14. Sporting Kansas City 400,000
15. Kansas City T-Bones 261,115
Voting in Johnson County is a more popular Kansas City area activity than minor league baseball and major league soccer, but less popular than pro baseball, pro football, and racing.
Of the top 10, only elections are truly free (no cover charge, admission charge, parking charge, or items that are purchased).
Granted, you could consider "church" or "school" to be an attraction and add up all the attendees, but I've only listed the voters involved in Johnson County Elections, put on by one office. We've had quite a schedule in 2012, as many elections as the Chiefs will have regular-season home games.
So, the next time someone criticizes voter turnout or compares the number to those discussing American Idol voting, you have a snappy comeback:
"I'll have you know that all the votes cast in Johnson County in 2012 create a total admission that makes it the number one free area attraction in Kansas City."