Saturday, July 29, 2006

Volunteer Opportunity or Turnout is Key

As the Secretary of State predicts low turnout for Tuesday's election, it's important to think about what that will mean. In 2004 there were less than 38,000 votes cast for the two candidates for the Republican nomination that Kathy Martin ultimately won (thus seizing a creationist majority). This is an off-year without an exciting race at the top of the ballot, so turnout will be lower. Getting a few people to remember to vote next Tuesday could easily swing the tide.

First, that means that Kansas readers better get themselves to the polls. Nothing is more important than voting. Anyone who is registered as a Republican or who is unaffiliated may vote in a Republican primary, and I think anyone at all can vote in Democratic primaries (the only one at the State Board of Education level or higher is the race in the first district, where you should vote Waugh). Unaffiliated voters will have to declare a registration at the polls, but I'm assured by people I trust that this can be legally done. Poll workers may not know it, so be prepared to fight over it.

The second critical thing to do is make sure that your friends understand the issues at hand and vote. Talk to people tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday. Let them know that, if they live in a district that's voting, they can change how people view Kansas and can secure better schools. Check what district you're in at this handy page. Odd numbered Board districts are up for election this year.

On top of that, you can help reach out to people who you didn't know before through Kansas Families United for Public Education and the Mainstream Coalition. The groups are doing a calling party Sunday night at 6:30 on to remind people in Janet Waugh's district to vote. The event is at:

5530 Noland Rd.
Shawnee, KS
(Just east of Pflumm between Johnson Dr. and 55th St.)
Contact KFUPE for more information, including some things you can do if you can't make the party but want to make some calls.

There will also be GOTV at Mainstream for Waugh and for Harry McDonald in the Third District (against Bacon).

I haven't heard about organized activities in other districts, but that shouldn't stop you. Get some friends together and call some local retirement homes, offer to shuttle people to the polling places. The 5th District is huge, and Sally Cauble will win or lose based on how many people actually show up at the polls. Connie Morris and her creationist gang will have vans running all day, getting core conservative voters to the polls, and if you want to turn that back, now is the time to take matters into your own hands. Get the rest of the voters to the polls.

The same is true in the 9th district, where Brad Patzer will tap into the network that snuck his mother-in-law through the primaries undetected. Jana Shaver is truly a great candidate, and I'd love to see her bring southeastern Kansas back to the bright side. If you live down there or know people down there, make some polite calls to encourage people to go and vote.