This is the first year that Kansas is holding local elections in the fall. The Secretary of State's office is viewing the general election in November as an important test of the new system.
The Kansas Legislature moved local elections—like for city councils and school boards—from the spring to the fall.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach says it's an effort to boost voter participation rates, which are typically low in local elections compared to federal and state. In Sedgwick County, voter turnout in the April 2015 general election was just 16 percent.
"People associate early November with voting, as opposed to early April, which people do not as readily associate with voting," Kobach says.
He says there’s a lack of historical data to indicate how this fall’s elections will go.
“So this is going to be a very interesting election coming up on November 7, and hopefully it will be one that proves the Legislature correct that it significantly boosts turnout in local elections," he says.
Kobach was in Wichita to mark National Voter Registration Day. Kansans have until Oct. 17 to register to vote in the general election.