Elections Matter

It is oft said of elections that those who stay home on Election Day decide elections. This civically-inspired News Dog would wholeheartedly agree and would urge every registered voter in Kansas City to vote this upcoming Tuesday.

The mayoral contest is something of a yawner given the caliber of the two candidates, but that’s what happens when more than 75 percent of the registered voters in Kansas City didn’t care enough to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

According to stats from the Kansas City Election Board, a paltry 19 percent of registered voters in Kansas City cast a ballot in the April 2019 municipal primary election.

Elections have consequences, and that consequence is these two candidates. Clearly, those who stayed home decided that election just as they have throughout recent history.

A quick check of the stats on the Kansas City Election Board website tells the sad tale with voter turnout in some elections barely edging above the 12 percent mark on city-wide elections.

The last general election for mayor and council in 2015 boasted a 13 percent voter turnout.

Such voter apathy also leads to some knee-jerk, potential charter-changing ordinances filed by city council people who apparently fear the initiative petition process is too easy, lamenting the fact that only 1,708 valid signatures are required on an initiative petition to put an issue such as “Save The Paseo” in front of the voters.

Those same council people have talked of introducing ordinances that would raise the number of signatures required on initiative petitions through an act of the council and not through a charter change.

For the record, that 1,708 number is a direct reflection of voter turnout in municipal elections. The reason the number is ridiculously low is that, you guessed it, people stayed home on Election Day in 2015.

According to the City Charter, an initiative petition must garner at least 5 percent of the number of ballots cast for the office of mayor in the last general election as determined by the City’s Board of Election Commissioners.

That number is currently 1,708 but should change next Tuesday after the election.

The Dog would also caution against opting out of the mayoral vote but casting ballots for City Council candidates and ballot initiatives as well. While a vote will be recorded, not casting a ballot for mayor threatens to send that 1,708 number even lower.

This Dog gets it; neither of the top two candidates set the world on fire, but sitting out that part of the ballot and casting votes for the rest of the issues and people on the ballot is not the answer and only threatens to make such council actions to raise the signature quota an even greater threat to the City Charter.

So here’s a word of advice from this voting News Dog. Take the time to vote next Tuesday. We get it. It’s a hold your nose and pick’em. The consequences of staying home, however, are far worse than the choice of not making a choice.

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