In the midst of a pandemic, it’s been pretty difficult for an election for a school board positions and a quarter-cent sales tax to garner much attention, and that may be exactly what some people are hoping. The election, originally scheduled for April was rescheduled to June 2 due to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Fresh off a vote by the city council that rushed the issue onto the ballot, there was a lot of conversation surrounding the limited amount of time for either side to build an informational campaign in support of their position. However, two extra months and a pandemic only reduced the community’s interest in the issue.
While voter turnout in local elections is typically low, a lack of excitement, campaigning news coverage, or controversy surrounding any of the races can prove the death knell for a campaign issue. Reportedly, one of the best tricks to win any election is to create low voter turnout in the demographic groups that support your opponent. That’s the case in this election for the Kansas City firefighters.
The less attention they can give to the ballot issue to increase their department’s sales from a quarter-cent to a half-cent increases the power of the vote of their union members, family members, friends, and supporters. Impassioned about the issue, you can bet they’ll show up in huge numbers and individuals with less skin in the game will far too likely sit this election out.
Whether you support the sales tax increase or not, recognize how the game is played, and know that not showing up is, by all means, a vote in support of the tax increase.