Voter registration deadline approaches

By SCOTT AUST

City and school elections are fast approaching and those interested in voting have a little less than three weeks to get registered.

On Nov. 7, voters will decide who sits on the Garden City Commission, Holcomb City Council, the boards of education for USD 457 Garden City and USD 363 Holcomb, and the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees.

There is also a countywide sales tax ballot   question, and an additional two ballot issues for Holcomb school district voters to consider.

This is the first year that local city and school elections are being held in the fall. Previously, those elections were held in April but the state legislature decided in 2015 to move them to November in odd numbered years.

The last day to register to vote is October 17.

Registration applications are available in both English and Spanish from the Finney County Clerk’s office, 311 N. Ninth St. Applications can be downloaded from the Finney County website: http://ks-finneycounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=443

To be eligible to register and to vote a person must be a United States citizen who is 18 or older. You must re-register if you have moved to a new address or had a name change. Those registering for the first time in Kansas must submit proof of U.S. Citizenship.

According to information on the Finney County website, a person may provide a copy on paper or electronically, or may show the document to an election officer or official registrar. The following is a partial list of acceptable documents:

  • Birth certificate that verifies U.S. citizenship
  • U.S. passport (may be expired)
  • U.S. naturalization documents or the number of the certificate of naturalization
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty number or tribal enrollment number
  • U.S. hospital record of birth indicating place of birth in the U.S.
  • U.S. military record of service showing the applicant’s name and U.S. birthplace

Advance voting by mail begins Oct. 18, (20 days prior to election), and in person advance voting starts Oct. 31 in the county clerk’s office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until it closes at noon on Nov. 6.

Registered voters interested in advanced voting by mail may receive an advance ballot by request. Advanced Voting by Mail Applications must be received
by the Finney County  Clerk’s Office before 5 p.m. on Nov. 3, the Friday prior to the election. An application  is good for one election. You must apply each election, unless you have applied  for permanent advance voting status.

The ballot must be returned either by mail or hand delivered to the County Clerk’s Office. For the vote to count, the ballot must be received no later than 7 p.m. on Election day. The clerk does not accept ballots with a postmarked date. No exceptions will be made.

Military personnel stationed within the United States or overseas may request a ballot be mailed to them. Non-military Kansas citizens visiting oversees may also request a ballot. A FPCA Registration and Absentee Ballot Request must be completed and returned to the County Clerk.

On Election Day, Nov. 7, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Garden City Commission

There are seven people running for three available seats. They include incumbent Melvin Dale, Keith Collins, John Hahn, Lyndsay Byrnes, Pedro Rodriguez, Troy Unruh, and Chris Hamlin. Those who finish with the three highest vote totals will be elected.

USD 457 Board of Education

Three seats are available. Incumbents Jean Clifford and Lara Bors are seeking reelection, and are challenged by Tim Hanigan, Alex Wallace and Jeff Sims.

GCCC Board of Trustees

Five people are running for three available positions on the Board of Trustees. They include incumbents Merilyn Douglass, Melvin Neufeld and Blake Wasinger, joined on the ballot by David Rupp and Leonard Hitz.

Holcomb City Council

Three seats are available but only two are on the ballot including Ron Schreibvogel, an incumbent, and Sam Mesa.

USD 363 Holcomb Board of Education

Those who filed included Jill George, incumbent position 4; Kasey Robinson, incumbent position 5; and Matthew Jones and Cody Douglas filed for position 6.

Ballot questions

In addition to city and school board elections, voters will also sound off on several ballot issues.

All voters in Finney County will see a countywide sales tax proposal on their ballot. The question seeks voter approval of a .30 percent (3/10ths of a cent) sales tax to fund improvements to Jennie Barker Road between Schulman Avenue and K-156, the construction of a third fire station, the construction of an indoor gun range, and improvements at Lee Richardson Zoo to include a new Animal Health facility, a new primate exhibit, and a new flamingo exhibit.

There are also two additional ballot questions for voters who reside in the Holcomb school district.

The first question asks whether USD 363 should issue up to $4.04 million in general obligation bonds to renovate and improve district facilities, including remodeling security offices and security cameras in district buildings, building a storm shelter at Holcomb Elementary School, and a wrestling room/storm shelter at Holcomb High School; to upgrade HVAC systems in district buildings; and make plumbing, ADA and door improvements at the elementary school.

The second question asks voters to approve up to $3.46 million in general obligation bonds to build locker rooms, concession and restrooms, instructional and activities practice area, practice area improvements and site upgrades at Holcomb High School.

Contact the clerk’s office at (620) 272-3524 for more information about any election questions.