How many times have you shown up to vote and seen issues or races on the ballot you weren't expecting and knew nothing or little about?
You're not alone. Our election coverage focuses on these state and local issues that can have a major impact on your daily way of life.
You’re not alone. There are a lot of issues that get very little attention but they can often have major implications that we don’t understand.
This election season, we dedicated a large amount of our election space to covering the ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments and races you’ll probably hear little about – and, this year, there are a lot of them with major ramifications.
We began our coverage in early October, so if you’re just getting serious about the elections, you’ve missed a lot. But you’re in luck. You can find all of our coverage on our website www.CommunityVoiceKS.com under our election tab.
In case you missed an issue, or you need a refresher, here’s a brief recap of each of the topics we covered, followed by the story title, so you can easily find the article and learn more on our website.
Here’s what’s at stake.
Kansans showed up in large numbers to vote on the state’s abortion constitutional amendment in August, but it’s not time to rest. There are two more state constitutional amendments up for a vote in the November election.
Increasing Power of Kansas Legislature
The first amendment up for vote addresses the power of the Kansas governor, and if approved, expands the rights of the Kansas Legislature to override decisions made by the governor.
Sheriffs’ Positions Remain Elected Positions
The second amendment is a fairly strange one about sheriffs’ positions across the state. It says sheriff positions that were elected as of January 2022 will remain elected. That sounds pretty shut and close and not that important, but things are rarely that simple, and that’s the case here. What you need to know, though, is what’s behind this amendment and what the impact will be. I think we can say within our journalistic standards that it’s a messy power grab, as is the first amendment.
Supreme Court Retention
If you’re like most of us, you’ve passed on these judges’ retention votes year after year, but this year, you need to pay attention.
Not retaining the Supreme Court judges has become a major issue for those individuals who on Aug. 2 supported changing the state’s constitution to take away the constitutional right for a woman to have an abortion.
The reason Kansans had the abortion constitution vote is because the Kansas Supreme Court ruled women had the constitutional right to an abortion, which didn’t sit well with conservatives in the Kansas Legislature. To get around the court’s ruling, they put the issue on the ballot during a primary, hoping folks wouldn’t show up.
They didn’t win in August, and they have a new mission: getting rid of the Supreme Court judges who they believe are standing in their way.
They’ll be showing up and voting no (not to retain the judges) and they’re hoping everyone ignores these races at the polls so they can easily prevail.
Missourians have a voter ballot initiative to consider legalizing recreational marijuana. It may sound like a yes or no decision, but there’s a lot of grey area with this issue. There’s a large faction of individuals who support legalizing recreational marijuana who are speaking out against this initiative. They think it’s time for recreational marijuana in Missouri, but they want the law implemented in a way that works well for smokers, those previously convicted and for growers and sellers.
Approving this initiative makes the changes part of the Missouri Constitution, so once it’s approved it will be very difficult – darn near impossible – to correct problems with the law. Those who support recreational marijuana, but not this initiative, say there are too many problems with this law as written and that they would much rather see recreational marijuana passed by the state legislature. That way, if something is not working, the law can easily be adjusted.
Funding for the Kansas City Police Department Yep, all Missourians will have a chance to vote on how much money Kansas City budgets for its police department. Logically, you would think that would be something the Kansas City Council would decide on, but not in Missouri, where control of the Kansas City Police Department falls under a commission appointed by the Missouri governor. If approved, Amendment 4 would require Kansas City to allot 25% of its budget, up from the 20% presently required, towards its police department. You have to read our story to understand the whys and hows of this crazy amendment and the even crazier way Kansas City’s police department is controlled.
Voter ID Changes In case you missed it, Missouri’s voter ID laws have changed and the laws are effective with the November election. Under the state’s old voter ID laws, individuals were able to use a utility bill, a bank statement or a student ID as proof of their identity. Not anymore.
Now, approved voter IDs are: an unexpired Missouri-issued driver’s license or state ID card, passport or other federal ID. Veterans IDs also unexpired are acceptable. Expired versions of these IDs can be accepted if they expired since November 2020.
If you don’t have the correct ID, you can cast a provisional ballot that may or may not count. Read the article to learn more about this process.
City of Wichita Ballot Question
Wichita citizens will vote on whether or not to change how their school board members are elected. Currently, candidates for the school board run for a district seat and during the primary, only people in the district vote for the candidate. However, in the general election, people from across the city vote in all district races.
This is different from how almost any elected positions are voted on, including congressmen, city council members and members of the state legislature. In these races, only people from the district vote in both the primary and general elections.
There’s a case to be made on both sides of this issue. However, the issue was heavily pushed for a vote by African-American activists who feel the process diminishes the power of the Black vote. Learn more in our article.
Kansas City Bond Issues
Kansas City residents will vote on two bond issues. One is for improvements to the city’s park and recreation facilities, the other is to fund the construction of affordable housing. Both of these are things most citizens can support, but what’s unusual with these bond issues, is that citizens are being asked to vote for them with few if any specifics on how the money will actually be used. Learn more in our stories.