The McPherson City Commission unanimously passed a resolution at Monday's City Commission meeting expressing its opinion that municipal and school board elections should remain in their current place of April in odd years and be non-partisan, rather than be moved to November of even years and become partisan elections.
Senate Bill 171, which is currently in the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, would change the dates of municipal and school board elections.
McPherson Mayor Tom Brown said, "Hearings were last week on Wednesday and Thursday. I have not seen anything after those hearings. We will send this out, as the Administrator said, to all members of the Committee, as well as to our local representation so they know what we're doing. A number of municipalities have sent this in. Over 100 school districts have sent a similar resolution that has been prepared for them. It's not just a small town, even Carl Brewer, mayor of Wichita, has thought that this was not a good idea. The Hatch Act does prevent active military and Federal employees from holding office in a partisan election. Across the state, there are a number of people that could not run, and there are some communities that are dependent on those people.
"We feel that, the main thing, even the small increase in people that vote because they are worried about the President or the Governor, or some State office, is too high a price to pay for losing the focus of what's going on in a community. By having it in the odd year, as it has been, most local candidates have little or no money to campaign. And, when you don't have any money to campaign, it's going to be hard to get the focus on a local issue when you're inundated with massive spending at the Federal and State level. We lose talking about what it is. I'm assuming that the people that don't vote are comfortable with what they hear, or they just don't care. April is coming, and you have an oppoertunity to show that you care about the community by voting."
Two City Commission seats are up for election in McPherson this April, as well as several seats on the McPherson USD 418 School Board. The election is April 7th.