Local Elections Matter

Last week we told you that every vote counts. In local primary elections, like we had on Tuesday, sometimes there are less than a thousand total votes for all the candidates in one race. If you get to cast a ballot in one of those races you are powerful. Your voice is amplified and your priorities get more attention. When you vote in primaries and then again in November, it’s like getting a bonus round of political leverage.

On Tuesday, a couple of wonderful things happened. MainStream’s political action committee, MainPAC, endorsed candidates in seventeen races, and in all but four of those races candidates we endorsed will move on to the general election. In some of the races the leaders walked away with lots of space between them and their nearest competitor, and in other races it was very close, but in almost all cases the moderate candidates fared well. The four races in which the moderates didn’t get enough votes to get beyond the primaries all share one feature – Kansans for Life and Americans for Prosperity were spending money and knocking on doors to influence the voters.

But let’s look at some numbers. In Wyandotte County 13,654 people voted, which is about 17.72% of registered voters. In Johnson County 26,912 people voted, which is 9.83% of registered voters. In Douglas County, 5,944 people voted, which is about 10.14% of registered voters. In total, it was a pretty average turnout for a primary, which seems strange since it feels like there’s so much political engagement right now. How can we change that? How can we move the needle on voter turnout?

These local elections matter so much. Mayors, city council members and school board members have a real-time effect on how we live our lives. Local races are too important for us to let the conservative groups out-perform us because they got to a door we didn’t, and we think that’s what happened in those four races where the moderates lost to more conservative challengers. So, we are gearing up to double-down for November. Each and every one of the candidates who made the primary cut—plus the whole slew of other candidates who didn’t have a primary—are looking for help. They’re looking for donations, door knockers, phone callers, and fundraisers. They want to meet people – and you know people, so you can help! The more people we talk to, the more likely they are to vote. It’s possible that might be the first step in moving that needle.

Do you want to read about some things you could talk to other people about? Here’s coverage of Tuesday’s primary:

November 7th will be here before you know it. Can you promise yourself you’re going to do something to get out the vote every day between now and Nov. 7th? We bet you can. We’re counting on it. 

Remember to do more than vote. Get informed, get involved, make a difference.

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