Voter Turnout Average, Jail Bond Questions Fail To Pass


Voter turnout November 7 in Grant County was about "average", with voters saying no to the two questions on the ballot regarding a new jail proposition.

According to Grant County Clerk Sheila Brown, the "odd year" election saw 20.45 percent of the registered voters coming to the polls.

"It (voter turnout) was average even with the countywide questions," Brown said.

Grant County saw 20.45 percent show up in 2021, 24.70 percent in 2019, 2017 saw only 5.81 percent, 5.22 percent in 2015, and 25.37 percent in 2013, according to Brown. Voters in 2015 only had 5.81 percent show up at the polls.  The 2015 and 2017 elections had only one candidate per race.

When asked why she thought voter turnout was so low, Brown said "that is the million dollar question."

"I have no good answer," she added. "I have heard everything from 'I don't have kids in school' to 'I only voted the presidential elections.'"

There are 3,765 registered voters in Grant County. However, of that number, only 931 cast a ballot.  Of those, 645 actually went to the polls, 235 took advantage of early voting, 38 sent their ballot in by mail and 13 were provisional ballots.

The term “provisional voting” was introduced in Kansas in 1996 as a result of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

"A provisional ballot is available if there is any question about your eligibility to vote," according to information from the office of Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach's office. "A provisional ballot is provided if, as a registered voter, you change your name or address within the county and fail to re-register before the election. You may vote a provisional ballot if there is a question about your U.S. citizenship, age, registration or residence, or if there is an indication that you have a felony conviction or have already voted during that election."

Those who vote with are required to present a photo identification. If a voter fails to provide the identification they may be allowed to vote a provisional ballot.

The highest number of votes for Grant County's recent election came from Ward 3 with 1,218 votes cast. Ward 2 followed with 1,095 votes, Precint 4 with 763 and Ward 1 with 689.

The two questions on this year's election concerned a proposal by Grant County Commissioners to build a new jail facility. One of those questions concerned a sales tax. Both questions failed.

When asked if they would support the jail bond, 568 of those who voted said 'no', while 326 voted in favor.

The results were close to the same when voters were asked if they would support a sales tax to help pay for the jail: 579 said 'no', with 320 voting 'yes'.

Also on the ballot was the election of school board members. None of those running had opponents in their respective races.  Those elected were Nichole Winner, Position 1; Chad W. McCormick, Position 2; Kasey Krueger, Position 3; and Diana Nunez, at large.

This election included those running for city offices. Mayor Tim McCauley,  will retain his seat. McCauley garnered 609 votes of the 931 cast. For Councilmen, the top three vote getters were Terry Dimmitt, 498; John Duran, 419; and Terry Maas, 423. Bene Garcia garnered 382 votes.

The results of the election and the questions were not official until yesterday, Wednesday, November 15, when commissioners were scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. in the couthouse to complete their final canvas.

The Ulysses News will let you know what the results of that canvas were in the November 23 edition of our publication.

Although the turnout was deemed average, the election itself went smoothly.

"Everything went great," Brown said. "We had no issues on election day nor with early voting."

Brown and her "crew" had been working on the election process for several weeks prior to November 7.

"Six weeks is the least amount of  time I have pulled an election together," she said.

Election Day, Brown had 13 workers scheduled.

"Twelve worked due to illness," she said, adding that it takes around 45 people to make it all happen. "(That is the) normal number of workers for early voting, election day, counting board, post-audit board, plus my staff to make it all happen."

Watch the Ulysses News to learn what next steps are to address the present jail issues.


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