Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2006

JoCo election chief predicts low turnout

July 27, 2006

Although still hopeful, Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby fears a low voter turnout for Tuesday's primary election.

The county appears on track to have about 20,000 advance voters, Newby said.

The primary will be essentially one for state offices. There are no countywide initiatives or county races on the Aug. 1 ballot.

The primary drama is mostly on the Republican side, where several lesser-known candidates are vying for the right to face Democratic incumbent Kathleen Sebelius in November and three hopefuls are seeking the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District as the first step to unseating four-term Rep. Dennis Moore. In addition, GOP conservatives Kay O'Connor and Eric Carter are attempting to unseat incumbent state office holders in Secretary of State Ron Thornburg and Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

Also drawing interest are races for the Kansas State School Board. Locally two men are challenging Republican John Bacon for his 3rd District seat.

But apparently the GOP races aren't exciting Johnson County voters.

Historically, about 20 percent of voters cast ballots in advance, Newby said. The county looks to be on pace to have about 20,000 advance voters, he said.

By that benchmark, his office was expecting a turnout from a quarter to a third of Johnson County's 300,000 registered voters to participate in the primary.

"Between 80,000 and 100,000 voters -- closer to the low side," he said. "We're not getting a feel for much more. There's not a sense of a big issue out there."

Still with 80,000 to 100,000 voters and 260 polling places in the county, the election office will have a busy week, Newby said. And the pace is picking up at the election office, he said.

"If we had 200 people in here casting advance ballots on Friday, we'll have 400 today," he said. "My experience is it doubles every day. That would be the pattern.

"You never know though. There are some election days you see a bigger turnout than you would anticipate from advance voting."

Four polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in De Soto. Those polling places are:

  • Precincts 1 and 7 (old-town De Soto) -- De Soto High School.
  • Precincts 2 and 6 (Waverly Road to Lexington Avenue) -- De Soto Baptist Church.
  • Precincts 2, 4 and 5 (De Soto east of Waverly Road) -- De Soto Senior Center.
  • Rural Lexington Township -- De Soto United Methodist Church.

In addition, Johnson County registered voters can cast in-person advance ballots through Saturday at:

  • Metcalf South Shopping Center, northwest mall entrance, 9531 Metcalf in Overland Park.
  • Johnson County Northeast Offices, 6000 Lamar in Mission.
  • The Johnson County Multi-Service Center, 12425 W. 87th St. Parkway in Lenexa.
  • The Johnson County Election Office, 2102 E. Kansas City Road in Olathe.

The election office site is open for advance voting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The other three sites are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

In addition, advance ballots may be mailed to the election office. Mail-in ballot applications are available at De Soto City Hall, the De Soto Library or the election office's Web site at Applications can be faxed or mailed to the election offices. The fax number and address are on the forms.

Completed applications must be received by the election office before 5 p.m. Friday. Mail-in ballots must be at the election office by 7 p.m. Tuesday to be counted.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.