By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
A recent Gallup poll found that voter enthusiasm is down sharply since 2010, with the majority of U.S. registered voters (53 percent) say they are less enthusiastic about voting than in previous elections.
With the midterm primary elections coming to Liberal on Aug. 5 and the general election coming on Nov. 4, Seward County Clerk Stacia Long said historically, locals seem to be disengaged with local elections. However, with the implementation of new technology and social media, Long said she hopes voter turnout can increase.
“Staff works very hard at getting information out to the voters such as current candidate filings and deadlines,” Long said. “We make use of current technology in an attempt to reach our younger voters. A Facebook page has been created where we are able to continually update information important to the upcoming elections.”
In addition to technology, Long said the staff is required by law to publish various legal publications prior to every election with information for voters. The county itself is also working to keep the election portion of the website maintained and up to date and is always looking for new ways to get information out to our voters.
While Long admitted she doesn’t have an answer as to the reason behind local voters historically being disengaged, she has noticed that voter turnout tends to be greater with presidential elections than state and county elections. Long added that it is a nationwide problem for election officials.
“While all elections are important, the upcoming fall elections tend to affect people directly, right here at home,” Long said.
Long also said that people should not feel intimidated or nervous when going to the polls.
“Over the years, we have taken steps that we feel make the process of voting in Seward County smooth and less intimidating to voters,” she said. “With the use of Electronic Poll Books, a voter can now report to any table, where in the past, they had to know their precinct and report to a specific table. I have received great feedback from many.”
Advance voting will be at the Seward County Administration Building at 515 N Washington Ave. starting on July 21. There will also be Saturday voting again due to success in the last election. Hours will be posted at a later date.
Election day voting will be at the Seward County Activity Center aka Event Center on election day, Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. and the Kismet Pavilion in Kismet from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Advance Ballots will be mailed out starting July 16 for all permanent advance voters, as well as those who have or will apply for a ballot by mail.
Long offered encouragement for going to the polls.
“I feel that over the years we have made every effort to make the voting process run smooth for the voters,” Long said. “With technology today, it is easier now more than ever to obtain information on upcoming elections and candidates and much easier for voters to do their homework prior to going to the polls.”