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Vol. 70 No. 4
In this issue:
Opportunities to make a difference
Lack of affordable housing in JoCo
Spotlight on member Marcia Manter
National political organizations representing issues from both the political right and left are calling for a Constitutional Convention to recommend changes. Join us to learn about the dangers a convention poses and why the League of Women Voters thinks opening the Constitution could harm America’s basic principles of government and citizens’ individual rights.
Our speakers will describe the potential risks and ways to advocate for the rejection of a proposed Constitutional Convention.
Mark Johnson, JD, adjunct professor at the University of Kansas Law School, specializing in the First Amendment, and partner in the law firm of Dentons US in Kansas City, Mo.
Cille King, co-president, League of Women Voters of Kansas
The election finish line looms. Until November 6, we need max LWVJoCo visibility and impact. How? Via max member action.
It’s your choice — just do it!
√ Display “Your Vote Matters” yard signs. Contact Ann Norbury to order or buy one at the September 8 meeting.
√ Register voters until registration closes October 16. Contact Becky White.
√ Educate voters by inviting our Speakers Bureau to speak to your club or group. Contact Candy Birch.
√ Attend and promote three Johnson County Board of County Commissioners candidate events (see more details below).
Hang on to this fast ride, folks. We’re helping people find their Voice, which is their Vote.
Questions, concerns? Just let me know.
You Spoke, We Listened
|Each January, members give the board directions about possible Saturday programs, studies and issues needing attention. Here’s an update on our progress.|
|Create a comprehensive plan for the 2018-2019 League year.||Created a plan at a board retreat in July, and it’s currently being finalized. Watch for the November VOTER for details.|
|Prepare an illustration of the gerrymandering at Kansas districts over time.||Started preparing an illustration of gerrymandering in Kansas.|
|Review the new Johnson County Election website, submitting comments on and pushing for change if necessary.||Requested that the Johnson County Election Office post the federal voter registration form on its website, which it did.|
|Learn about the Election Commission’s new voting machines before the August primary.||Attended a demonstration and info session about the new machines in May.|
Spotlight on BOCC Candidates
What’s a BOCC? What does it do? Who’s on it?
For too many Johnson County residents, our nonpartisan Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is a mystery…but it shouldn’t be. These seven elected officials run a big business: They approved a $1.097 billion budget for 2019 and oversee nearly 4,000 employees in over 40 departments and agencies.
This year, four of the seven seats are up for election — districts 1, 4 and 5 and the chair. Normally, these races have low visibility. But not in 2018. Lengthy delays in tallying the August 7 Primary Election votes prompted local, state and even national media attention. Just weeks earlier, the BOCC unanimously approved a new $10 million voting system.
We want to help voters find out how the incumbents and challengers plan to address voting and other countywide issues. Spread the word to friends and family about three candidate forums. Each will include candidates running for one of the district seats as well as candidates running for chair (a countywide seat). To find your district, you can enter your address on the Johnson County website.
Save the Dates: BOCC Candidate Forums
|Saturday, October 13
10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
District 4 (Jason Osterhaus and Janeé Hanzlick); chair (Ed Eilert and Trinette Waldrup)
To help, contact Cathy Matlack
|Sunday, October 14
2 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
District 5 (Michael Ashcraft and LeEtta Felter); chair (Ed Eilert and Trinette Waldrup)
To help, contact Ellen Miller.
|Saturday, October 20
3:30 – 5 p.m.
District 1 (Ron Shaffer and Becky Fast); chair (Ed Eilert and Trinette Waldrup)
To help, contact Sarah Baum.
More than 11,000 people visited Vote411.org to find information about candidates running for office in the primary. The site received a total of 14,327 sessions since LWV of Kansas launched it in early July.
Overall, 211 races involving 389 candidates were entered into the system. All statewide races were included as well as district judges and 12 county races.
Moving into the general election, volunteers will continue to reach out to candidates who did not respond and gather information from independent candidates.
Make sure you continue to tell family, friends and coworkers about this wonderful, nonpartisan, online voters guide.
The Cost of Housing in Johnson County
In Johnson County, one in five homeowners with a mortgage and two in five renters are cost burdened, meaning housing expenditures exceed 30 percent of their household income. For several months, the LWVJoCo Housing Affordability Study Committee has focused on the issue of affordable housing in Johnson County. Read why people are struggling to find affordable housing in our community.
Consider Serving on County Boards
Are you aware that the JoCo Commissioners appoint citizens to 31 different boards or advisory commissions? These include parks, health care, arts, fire districts, food policy, juvenile corrections, mental health, library, museum and more. They usually meet monthly, and some meet quarterly.
As volunteers, the men and women who serve as members of the appointed boards and commissions help to support, guide, and oversee the county’s agencies and departments. Some boards currently have vacancies.
Follow your passion and volunteer!
- Choose a board or commission that matches your interests.
- Attend a few meetings to evaluate the agenda items.
- Check to see if a vacancy exists.
- Apply for an appointment.
Note: Your city council also has committees and commissions that need community members. Contact your city for details.
Seven people joined LWVJoCo during August: Cherree Davis, Elizabeth Ault, Kathryn Barker, Cecile Schloegel, Chuck Nigro, Sandie Anderson and Susan Dimick.
We encourage new members to make time for one of our two upcoming gatherings in September so that you can mingle with other League members and learn more about the League.
And as always, we remind members to renew their memberships, which expired June 30. Renew online—it’s fast and easy.
If you don’t know Marcia, you soon will. As co-vice president, she’ll be front and center introducing speakers at our monthly meetings, which start up again September 8. Read why she devotes so much time to the League.
A $1 million donation to improve Sante Fe Commons park, opening day for the Monticello Library and a national award for Johnson County Parks and Rec are among the many issues public officials discussed in meetings this month. Read summaries created by several League members who attend these public meetings regularly.
- Many members of the Naturalization Committee, which consists of about 50 members, met in July for a training session and discussion of the committee’s function and remaining naturalization ceremonies of the year. Among other expenditures, the committee plans to use money received from a national grant to expand its efforts on following up with the new citizens after they are registered.
- The Speakers Bureau hosted two presentations in July, one to the Lenexa Rotary Club and one to the Olathe Noon Optimist Club.
- Twenty-three volunteers collected 34 new voter registrations, 65 advance ballot applications and 12 address change applications at 12 events in July. In addition, volunteers provided more than 200 people with information about voting and registration guidelines. The Voter Services team is making a big push registering voters before the November election registration deadline of October 16. If you can help, contact Becky White..
- The LWVJoCo’s Facebook page surpassed 1,000 followers in July. Are you one of them? If not, head over to our page and share our posts with your network to help keep others informed.
- The board is still looking for volunteers to help with event planning, hospitality, communications and the Speakers Bureau. If you are interested, please email our membership team.
The state League needs members to help update its position statement on services the state provides for children and families. The study committee will work primarily by email or conference calls. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in being part of this team.
Voting in JoCo: What You Need to Know
- October 16: Last day to register to vote.
- October 22-November 3: Advance voting in person.
- November 5: Advance voting 8 a.m.- noon only at the Election Office.
- November 6: Election Day Polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information see the Johnson County Election Office
Confirm voter registration and view sample ballot with voter lookup
Apply for an advance ballot
Find out more about what the state League is doing.
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