This week my family received a bright orange flyer in the mail from the Johnson County Election Office. My wife saw it and asked, “What are we voting for now?”
I get it. There always seems to be an election going on somewhere for something. Who can keep up? It’s especially easy to miss the importance of off-year elections. Add to that that many of these races are non-partisan and require a primary and you begin to understand why turnout hovers around 10 percent.
It would be a mistake not to vote. These races aren’t terribly exciting, but they are important. It’s likely the outcome of these local races will affect your family and the issues you care about more than the big races.
Positions up for a vote include seats on City Councils and School Boards across the state. Do you know that many of the so-called “non-discrimination” decrees that have been so destructive to the lives of faithful Christians around the country are city ordinances? Activists understand the strategic importance of establishing policy footholds at the local level. In Kansas, the cities of Lawrence, Manhattan and Roeland Park currently have such ordinances. If it’s not already doing so, your city council will soon confront this issue.
Your school board is where things hit home in a big way. School boards are empowered to enact all kinds of policy, from the content of sex-education curriculum to policies regarding access to private facilities. In 2015, the parents of Derby were forced to confront the members of their school board when Derby High School implemented a policy compromising privacy by allowing students to choose locker rooms and bathrooms on the basis of their claimed “gender identity.”
You’ve heard it a million times: “Your vote counts.” In these elections, it really does. Local races plus low turnout means candidates are elected with just a few hundred votes and razor-thin margins. Your vote might mean the difference between a school board that affirms parental rights in education and one that actively works to undermine the values you instill in your kids!
Find your County Election Office. Google the candidates. Ask your local party leadership what they know about them. Attend a forum.
Then vote. The primary is August 1, but early voting has already started in some counties.