County clerk’s office warning those not registered to vote that time is limited for registration for this election, special election will only be for residents in USD No. 480 School District
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Just last week, USD No. 480’s Board of Education voted to conduct a special election regarding the capital outlay budget resolution.
Because the election will take place on Oct. 13, all involved have a very short amount of time to prepare. All citizens of the school district are encouraged to take part in the election, however the deadline to register to vote is only a few weeks away.
“Basically, they need to be registered to vote prior to the close of registration, which is Sept. 28,” County Clerk Stacia Long said. “So, they need to be sure to be registered to vote and have their voter registration updated if they have moved by the 28th.”
According to Long, there is more than one way to accomplish the registration process.
“They can actually do that online or come here to my office and get a voter registration card and complete it,” she said. “At the county clerk’s office in the county administration building.”
The fact that the election is such a short time away could possibly affect the turnout, but that is not the only factor in determining voter participation.
“It is not just elections done this quickly,” Long said. “It is special elections. We just have never had a very good turn out on special elections.”
The county clerk’s office has its work cut out for them. But their responsibilities are limited. As far as voter education, that is up to the voter alone and the entities or individuals involved in the issue at hand.
“My job is to run the election,” Long said. “We always like to see turnout. Because the fact of the matter is, whether we have five voters or 5,000 voters, it is the same amount of work for us.
“As far as the turnout goes, I think just getting the word out and getting people educated on the issues so that they know what they are voting on and understand that their vote counts and they need to get out and vote is important,” she added. “This is kind of a way that they can tell the school board how they feel, one way or another.
“We can do the election, but the people need to be aware,” she explained. “We do publications that are required by law to get the word out as far as the fact that we are having an election. But we certainly do not advertise what the election is necessarily.”
Long hopes all citizens residing in USD No. 480 will take this opportunity to exercise their voting rights next month.
“I just want to encourage people to get out and vote and be educated on the issue – get the facts, ask the questions,” she said. “We will start mailing advance ballots Sept. 24. At that point we will have ballots so an individual can come get a sample ballot if they wish so that they can take a look at the question and make sure that they understand it prior to going to the polls to vote. We will have one in English and one in Spanish.”
Due to the fact that they have no idea what the voter turnout will be, the county clerk’s office has made every effort possible to cut corners as far as costs are concerned for USD No. 480.
“We are trying to do all we can to cut as many of the costs as we possibly can, but we are looking at it to be at or around $5,000,”
Long said. “We are trying to get all of our board hired so that we have all of our board workers. We don’t have to set up the same number of tables we do like in a presidential election so that will help cut some of the costs.
“I will be interested in seeing the turnout, because we simply do not know what it is going to be,” she continued. “It could be a flood of people or people trickling in to vote. I am kind of anxious to see how it turns out as far as voter turnout. I am hoping that we are all so darn busy all day that we don’t have time to breathe.”
This election is unique in the time constraints all involved must face. It was decided by the school board on Aug. 27 that the election would be conducted on Oct. 13.
“We like to have 60 days at least,” Long said. “Basically, it is nose to the grind everyday, getting that ballot to the printers. Being able to have the question helped, also being that it is one issue and within one certain district. We are just trying to make sure that we have all the publications done that we are required by law to do.
Getting board workers at such a late notice can be somewhat of an issue, but I think we have them taken care of.”
Long cannot stress enough how important it is for voters and prospective voters to educate themselves on the issue they will be voting on.
The question asked of voters that will be presented in the form of a ballot during the Oct. 13 election reads; “Shall Unified School District No. 480, Seward County, Kansas be authorized to make an annual tax levy for a period not to exceed five (5) years in an amount not to exceed eight (8) mills upon the taxable tangible property in the school district for the purpose of acquisition, construction, reconstruction, repair, remodeling, additions to, furnishing and equipping of buildings necessary for school district repairs, including housing and boarding pupils enrolled in an area vocational school operated under the board, architectural expenses incidental thereto, the acquisition of other equipment and for the purpose of paying a portion of the principal and interest on bonds issued by cities under the authority of K.S.A. 12-1774, and amendments thereto, for the financing of redevelopment projects upon property located within the school district?”