Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Voter turnout critical for bond issue

Advanced voting available for Nov. 6 bond election

October 17, 2001

Voter turnout could be the key to the Nov. 6 bond election.

Usually known as a traditional date for national and state elections, the second Tuesday of November marks the day USD 348 patrons will be asked to vote on only the $7.9 million bond issue that will decide whether Baldwin builds a new 3-5 elementary school.

Because 2001 is an odd year, no public offices are up for reelection. Superintendent James White said because of that, there is some concern about getting voters to the polls.

"I think we are experiencing problems with voter turnout nationwide," White said. "Last year was a presidential election and we had what, less than 30 percent voter turnout nationwide. That's pretty low"

He said because there are not any public offices up for reelection, he's concerned voter turnout could be even lower.

"We do have a problem getting people to the polls," he said.

Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes said she agreed there could be cause for concern.

"Traditionally when there are special elections, like a bond issue, the voter turnout is lower," Jaimes said.

One thing that could help voter turnout, she said, is the option of advanced voting.

"Usually eight to 10 percent of the votes are by advanced voting," she said. "But this is the first time advanced ballots have been available for a special election."

For those who cannot make it to the polls Nov. 6, voters can request an advanced ballot.

Jaimes said voters must write in or call the Douglas County Courthouse for an application. The application must be filled out and returned to the courthouse before a ballot will be mailed to the voter.

Advanced voting begins today and ballots will be accepted until 7 p.m. Nov. 6, she said. Ballots can be mailed to or returned in person to the courthouse.

"You have to keep in mind you must get an application before you get a ballot," Jaimes said. "You have to allow enough time for it to get through the mail and then allow enough time if you decide to mail the ballot in."

The polls will be open around Baldwin Nov. 6 with just a few changes, she said.

"We've asked Marion Springs voters to got to Willow Springs and East Wakarusa voters need to go to Vinland," Jaimes said. "Because it's a special election, we're trying to keep the cost down."

She said any voters who have changed names or moved must update their information by Oct. 22 in order to vote Nov. 6.

White said he hopes people will vote because of the importance of the bond issue.

"I'd like to think that it's a critical enough issue to get people to the polls Nov. 6," he said.

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