Statewide in the primaries last week, the turnout (still unofficial) was 20%. That means that one in five registered voters in Kansas bothered to vote.
In Johnson County, it was even worse. Only 18.5% of registered voters in Johnson County exercised their rights. While moderates statewide held their ground, there were opportunities missed to take back some of what was lost in 2012.
Some moderate candidates lost their races by only a few hundred votes. In Shawnee County, the moderate won by 64 votes. For every hundred votes that made a difference, four hundred voters chose not to go to the polls. Why? That's a hard day at work, or a rush to soccer practice, or a lack of choice on one side of the aisle. But some critical races were non-partisan, and needed our support. One particular race, for Chair of the Johnson County Commission, saw a strong moderate in Ed Peterson lose to a far-right, tea party extremist who touts a "culture of life" as part of her plan for the county. This race will be critical in the general election.
But only one in five people made a choice in this past primary.
So. What do we do about it?
This is where you come in. MainStream members and friends, we know you know the importance of your vote. We know you cherish it and brandish it every opportunity you get. But we need, all of us need, to do more than just vote. We need to get informed: on the issues, on the candidates, on the actions we can take. We need to get involved: educate our friends and neighbors, stump for a candidate, stand up, speak out. We need to vote: not all of us did.
We'd like to hear from you. What can we do to get more people to the polls this November?
Remember, we say with tongue in cheek: vote early, and vote often. Vote every election you get the chance. Help others do so, too.