OLATHE, Kan. – Johnson County election officials expect a record turnout for Tuesday’s local election.
In 2015, Kansas election leaders moved local races from the April ballot to November, and since then, they’ve seen steady increases in voter turnout.
In Johnson County, election managers are hopeful to see 20% turnout of all registered voters in Tuesday’s proceedings. That would be significantly more than elections in local elections in 2017 and 2019, when roughly 10% of voters took part.
The past eight days of early voters give Johnson County election officials reason to believe a record crowd for a local election is in store.
“Twenty percent would be a record number for these local jurisdictions here in Johnson County,” Fred Sherman, Johnson County Election Commissioner, said.
Sherman recalls 2015, when local elections moved to November, and voter interest began to rise. Sherman believes issues related to the pandemic, such as mask mandates, as well as mayoral races in Overland Park, Merriam and Mission may add to the influx of voters.
“It’s driven by the local matter, whether it’s a land use issue or certain people who are retiring with open seats. Those are what I think will really drive the participation rate,” Sherman said.
Nearly every Johnson County region has an issue on this ballot. Last November’s presidential election drew big crowds of people with nearly 80% turnout across Johnson County.
Early voters have turned out for the past eight days. Tuesday night polls remained open until 7 p.m. Remaining mail-in ballots must be postmarked with Tuesday’s date, and they must be received by election leaders by Friday.
“I don’t think we pay enough attention to it. I don’t think I did except for some of the advertising. I don’t like that some of the candidates, you don’t know who they are. I think you should have people get more informed,” Harold Purkey, one Johnson County voter, said.
“It’s important to vote. I brought three of my family. I know two more of my family who are voting after work this evening. We need to be more active,” Marta Henshaw, another voter, said.