A legislative committee is looking into changing the way municipal elections are conducted in Kansas to boost turnout. Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, believes it’s time to abandon the system of holding city and school board races on a different cycle than federal and state races. He wants to combine municipal elections with higher-profile November races that generate larger turnout, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. “Plain and simple, turnout for the current system is pitiful, and it gets worse every two years,” Huebert said. “We need to either figure out a way to increase turnout for the current system or move the elections.” In the past five years, at least 10 municipal election bills have been offered. Some have proposed merging municipal races with state and federal races in even-numbered years while others have proposed holding them in November of odd-numbered years. And some have even proposed making them partisan races.
So far, none of those proposals has passed, but lawmakers did agree at the end of the 2014 session to have an interim committee study the issue and make a report to be considered in 2015.
As the Special Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government began working Friday, Kansas Association of County Clerks and Election Officials president Jamie Shew testified that the association is opposed to merging municipal elections with state and federal races.
Full Article: Lawmakers study moving municipal elections.