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Halstead, KS 67056

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Moving Local Election To November May Have Boosted Turnout

Posted 11/16/2017

HARVEY COUNTY—In 2015 the State of Kansas decided to move local elections from April to November in hopes of boosting voter turnout. Last week was the first test of that hypothesis, and in Harvey County, voter turnout did increase compared to the springtime local elections of 2015.

About 29 percent of Harvey County voters cast ballots in this election, up from 21 percent two years ago.

Harvey County Election Officer Rick Piepho said he didn’t know if moving elections to November was solely responsible for the increase. He also attributed the ballot measures of the Camp Hawk sale and the Newton USD 373 bond as factors that probably drove more people to the polls.

“Anytime you have contested races that always drives voter turnout,” Piepho said.

Voters overwhelmingly shot down the proposed sale of Camp Hawk, with about 77 percent of voters against the idea. The USD 373 bond also failed.

Piepho said he thinks in coming years moving local elections to November will continue to help voter turnout.

“In the future, as people start knowing they’ll vote every November, I think it’s going to increase turnout,” he said.