We voted Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas.

Well, a few of us did. We only met a handful of neighbors at the polls, and the poll workers almost seemed startled to see us. After all, it was a pretty tiny ballot. We had just three votes to cast, in an obscure little election to narrow down the number of our local community college’s Board of Trustees. Really, a very tiny election. 

Here's a closeup of the oval sticker each voter was offered when we voted Tuesday. It says, "I Voted in Johnson County."
Each voter is offered a sticker. (Johnson County Post)

But we voted Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas.

My whole family voted (except for the one who’s in the hospital unexpectedly). In spite of the heat (“feels like” 95° F/35° C), and really heavy humidity. In spite of being tired and too busyIn spite of having to stop work and make a special tripIn spite of the fact that we had to wade through a lotta names, most of which we’d never heard before. Do a bit of digging to find out anything about the candidates. 

But we made sure we voted Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas.

A lot of people act as if primaries are not important. Those tiny little ballots, those obscure little elections, those trifling local races–what do those matter? Better to wait for the big, headliner elections, when your vote really matters. Right? 

Why on Earth should we make sure we voted Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas? It’s silly. Right?

Here's a line of the voting machines we use in Johnson County. They create a paper ballot as a backup, for election security.
Johnson County voting machines create a paper ballot voters can check. (Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star)

Wrong. Primaries are where political careers get their start. Primaries are where major policy decisions are made. And primaries, being small-scale elections, are where each and every vote counts more than anywhere else. You get more “bang for your vote” in a primary than you ever could in a general election.

I learned it’s important to make certain we vote in elections like Tuesday, in Johnson County, Kansas.

For most of my adult life, I have voted with an official “R” for Republican by my name, for two reasons. First, in Kansas we have closed primariesOnly voters who have declared a party affiliation may vote in that party’s primary. Second, for most of my adult life, in Johnson County (and much of Kansas), the Republican candidate ran unopposed in the general election. I declared myself to be a Republican (If you read this blog, you’ll realize I’m therefore beyond RINO), because I was determined to vote in the elections where the decisions were made.

That’s what set the pattern, and made made sure we voted Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas.

This photo shows the elegant, modern-neoclassical entrance to the Administration Building of Johnson County Community College, with a crowd of students on its front step.
The entrance to our local Johnson County Community College. (file photo/Kansas City Star)

By the way, that teeny-tiny little primary for our local community college? It was contest to chart the of our local educational institution. Would they take a conservative approach and keep the incumbents, or would they try a more progressive approach?

That’s why we made sure we voted Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to the Shawnee Mission Post, for the photo of the “I Voted in Johnson County” sticker. And thanks also to the Kansas City Star, for the photos of Johnson County’s voting machines in action (photographed by Tammy Ljungblad), and the JCCC entrance.