Baked goods luring voters to the polls?

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Turnout is pretty low in the Wichita mayoral and school board races Tuesday.  That's not uncommon, even though these race will still have a big impact on Wichitans lives.

And that's why one polling location is trying to get your attention through your taste buds.

 "Looks like the peanut butter's very popular," said one of the poll workers at Woodland United Methodist Church in Riverside.  She's carefully rearranging the cookies and muffins on a platter to make room for more.

When you walk in the doors at this polling site to cast your vote, the first thing you see is designed to tempt your tummy.

"This is what I'm good at," said one voter as he chomped into his chosen treat.  "Eating the cookies afterwards."

Cookies and muffins sit stacked up on trays.  Bottles of water and a carafe of coffee complete the hospitality spread set out to welcome voters.

"We love to bake," said Rev. Bequi Flores, the church's pastor.  "And some of us just sit and smile and say hello and offer coffee."

They've been offering Election Day baked goods here for a couple of years now, an extension of the church's other community outreach activities.

"It's a way to kind of lighten the day and just encourage people to stay connected to their communities and involved by voting," Flores explained.

Regular voters remember the sweet offerings.

"It makes it feel very neighborly, makes you feel at home," said Roy Beckemeyer.

He, his wife and dozens of other voters cast a cookie vote after they cast their ballots.

"I like a snickerdoodle!" cried one man, excitedly pulling out his cookie of choice.

"I hope the sweet treat is like a little uplifting part of someone's day and we just hope that it's an encouragement to our neighbors," Flores said.

While they say they don't know whether or not these baked goods actually do bring out more voters, they figure, 'Hey, it's a lot of fun doing it and the voters certainly appreciate the goodies.' 

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