Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring Backward, Fall Forward

Election irony met elections of the future in Kansas yesterday.

The Kansas legislature, by one more vote than necessary, passed a measure to move spring elections to the fall of odd years.

I have been a very vocal advocate of this move, demonstrating how the highest April election turnout in the last five years was still lower than the lowest turnout of special elections conducted in any other month.

Also, we're more likely to have schools available as polling places.  This was a major factor in my support of this move.

But passing by one vote?

That's classic.

(Editor's Note--more irony since I'm my own editor--thanks to the League of Women Voters for pointing out it passed by one MORE vote than needed.  I want to represent that accurately and have inserted this little parenthetical addition).

Does your vote matter?  It did here.

Whether or not you agree now, or will agree or disagree later after implementation, the bill technically passed the House by one vote.  It would have been more ironic if one of the votes for was elected by one vote, but such a realization, if that were the case, would cause even me to skip a heartbeat.

I would imagine, though, that at least one representative started as being appointed by precinct committee members to fill a vacancy and then later was elected.

Precinct committee members frequently are elected by a handful of votes and, in Johnson County, we have averaged 2 coin toss decisions for precinct committee ties for the five August primary elections since I've been election commissioner.

We often hear that elections have consequences, and this blog isn't the place to talk about the politics of any consequence from legislation.


I'll wear this
spiffy outfit
to election
worker training
if 5 people
become new
election workers
based on this post.
But there is real consequential value to administrators.

The value to me, non-political, is the use of schools as polling places.  This legislation should make election administration in Johnson County easier and polling places more stable for voters.

Plus, perhaps even greater, the bill allows us to have more high-school student election workers.  We were limited to one per polling place and turned away hundreds in presidential years. 

Now, 1/3 of our workers at the polls can be high-school students.

(Note to you, dear reader, if you aren't an election worker--that means 30 percent of our workers aren't even old enough to vote and these youngsters, who can't vote, are making sure you do.  Any pangs of guilt, thinking about being an election worker--please?--contact our office).

But, this is a great example of the value of what one vote looks like, and what better example than in an election bill.

The practicality of executing the bill will be discussed here if and after the governor signs the bill into law.  

The bill is more than 80 pages, so there are plenty of details to scour, and even the potential for unintended consequences, so I'll be reading it more thoroughly and reporting back.

2 comments:

MJCinOPK said...

The student election worker application says 2014. Do you have an updated form?

http://www.jocoelection.org/PDF/StudApp2014.pdf

Matt Woehrle said...

We will have the Student Election Worker information updated on the website soon.

 
;