Johnson County Election Office Gears Up To Manage A Mountain Of Paper

Dec 29, 2014

Johnson County will mail 330,000 ballots, the most paper ballots in county history
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

You probably don’t know it, but Johnson County is in the middle of one of its biggest election challenges ever.

The county election office says it will mail ballots to more than 330,000  voters in a mail-election on whether school districts should be allowed to increase how much of their budgets can be raised from local property taxes.

County Election Commissioner Brian Newby says he expects half of those ballots to be returned. That means officials will be handling more paper ballots then they ever have.

“Just opening all these envelops, just averaging 10,000 a day in this period, is going to be a huge thing,” he says.

The mail-in election will cost $1 million, according to Newby.

The tab is being paid for by the five school districts seeking to increase their local option budgets.

The five, Shawnee Mission, Olathe, Blue Valley, Desoto and Gardner-Edgerton, have already increased their local option budgets from 31 percent to 33 percent.

But to make that hike permanent, the Legislature said districts need voter approval.

People registered to vote will automatically receive a ballot. Those not registered have until Jan. 7 to register.