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Special election in city of Atchison may impact residents' ability to register to vote in Aug. 2 primary

Polling locations open to Kansas City, Missouri, voters.
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 16:13:02-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A special election set for July 14 in the city of Atchison may impact the ability for some residents to register for the Aug. 2 primary election in Kansas.

The city set a voter registration deadline for participation in that special election for June 23.

According to a spokesperson for the Kansas Secretary of State, because of the special election deadline, the registration for the Aug. 2 election was closed to residents before the statewide July 12 deadline.

The spokesperson said this impacts residents who live in the city of Atchison, not Atchison County.

"Our office does not have statutory authority over local elections," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We will continue working with the Atchison County Clerk to ensure the rights of each voter are protected and every legal voter has the opportunity to cast their ballot in the August primary election."

KSHB 41 received the following statement from Amy Finch, the city manager for Atchison.

The City has received complaints for years about the disrepair of our city streets. We have been working on financing those infrastructure improvements and have given voters the option to decide on a sales tax to address those complaints. Months ago, we decided to put the issue of a 1% sales tax to the voters. In consultation with the County Clerk, who manages elections, that vote was and is set for July 14. We have no control over the state law that governs elections or the time limits on registering to vote. There is a group trying to make this a city issue when the city has no authority to govern voter registration. It would not be fair to disregard the rights of voters who have already cast ballots in this special election through advance and absentee ballots, in an attempt to remedy an issue that is outside our authority. No further statements will be forthcoming regarding this issue.

A representative for Value Them Both, an anti-abortion organization in support of voting 'yes' in the Aug. 2 election, shared a statement of the group's disappointment in the election potentially affecting voter registration.

We are in this battle to pass the Value Them Both Amendment because too many voices have been silenced: moms, their precious babies, and the voters of Kansas. Unfortunately, Atchison citizens who did not register to vote by June 23rd no longer have the ability to have their voice heard on August 2nd. We’re disappointed in the timing of the Atchison special election and its potential impact on voter registration prior to the July 12th deadline.

As part of the special election on July 14, voters will decide on whether or not to approve a 1% sales tax for street and property tax relief.

If approved, the tax would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Seventy-five percent of revenue from the tax would go to transportation infrastructure including streets, curbs, sidewalks and alleys.

The rest of the 25% would go toward property tax relief for city residents.