Lengthy Ballot Questions Blamed For Confusion

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some residents in Hutchinson feel confused by the length of the questions they will vote on Nov. 6th.

"It's in small print and there's a lot to read and it's kind of confusing," said Viroqua Blakey, Hutchinson voter.

Blakey and her mother felt overwhelmed by the length of a question on whether or not to add protections relating to sexual orientation in the city's ordinance.

"I think they need to make it easier for the voters. There are people who are just going to skim it and not really understand it and not vote how they might've voted if they understood the whole questions," she said.

In June, the Hutchinson City Council approved an ordinance granting new protections for sexual orientation in the areas of employment termination and housing eviction. In September, both sides presented petitions to repeal and/or amend the previous ordinance.

Now, Hutchinson voters will get to decide on the issue.

"If you expect to go in there and read that whole ballot question, it can be confusing. The issue that we're actually voting on is very confusing and has been," said John Deardoff, city manager.

Another lengthy question will be on all Kansas voters' ballots. The question asks voters whether or not they want to re-word the Kansas Constitution and give legislators the power to tax boats differently.

"Most of the time I feel like you don't take the time to read it and understand it, when they're that long and drawn out," said Leonard Schaff, Reno County voter.

Election offices in Reno, Sedgwick, and Saline have been getting phone calls about those questions. Officials say they cannot explain the questions to voters, so voters need to educate themselves.

"You definitely need to make sure that you know what's going to be on your ballot and make sure that you're well informed before you go to the polls," said Jenna Fager, deputy election officer for Reno County.

To preview your ballot and get your voter registration information, click here.

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