Voters today will narrow the fields of Lawrence City Commission and Lawrence school board candidates.
Elected officials in those positions make some of the decisions that reach closest to home. For instance, commissioners decide on things such as homelessness programs, affordable housing and the recent safe haven ordinance; school board members vote on things such as student discipline programs; teacher, staff and superintendent pay; district budget cuts; and school closures.
Turnout for odd-year primaries is generally fairly low, however — just a little more than 10% of registered voters cast ballots, according to Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. In 2021, the sixth candidate to advance from the school board primary election was decided by just seven votes.
The election is nonpartisan, so any registered voters, including unaffiliated voters, may cast ballots in this election.
Unofficial election results should start rolling in shortly after polls close. Keep an eye on The Lawrence Times for results and updates.
On the ballot
Three Lawrence City Commission seats are on the ballot. The eight candidates running for those seats will be narrowed down to the top six in the primary; those six will then face off in the Nov. 7 general election. Three incumbents are running in hopes of retaining their seats: Brad Finkeldei, Amber Sellers and Courtney Shipley. The other five are Justine Burton, Mike Dever, Chris Flowers, Joshua Olafson and Dustin Stumblingbear.
There are nine candidates running for four-year terms on the Lawrence school board; all of them will advance to the Nov. 7 general election. However, three other candidates are actively running to fill the remaining two years of the term of Andrew Nussbaum, who resigned in 2022.
Five total seats on the school board will be filled in the November general election. They’re all terms that are expiring: Incumbent school board member Carole Cadue-Blackwood is running for another four-year term, and Past President Shannon Kimball is running for the remaining two years of Nussbaum’s term. Incumbent GR Gordon-Ross, who was appointed to fill the remainder of the first two years of Nussbaum’s term, is running for a four-year term. Incumbent school board members Erica Hill and Paula Vann are not running for reelection. Other candidates in the primary race include Justine Burton and Ariel Miner.
Learn more about the candidates in these articles and the others below, and check out our coverage of four candidate forums at lawrencekstimes.com/election2023.
To watch the forums for yourself, see this YouTube playlist.
Cast your vote
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 1.
If you are in line to vote by 7 p.m., you will be allowed to cast your ballot. You will need a photo ID to vote in person.
See a full list of polling places at this link.
Double-check your polling place and see a sample ballot by visiting myvoteinfo.voteks.org and inputting your name and date of birth, or you can just type in your address to see where to go to vote. Find more information about voting in Douglas County on the county’s website.
The county elections website notes these polling place changes:
• Voters in Precinct 10 (Burge Union) will be voting at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
• Lawrence school district voters in Precincts 52 and 53 (Eudora City Hall and Eudora Baptist Church) will be voting at Flory Meeting Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
• Lawrence school district voters from Leavenworth County will be voting at Grant Township Community Center.
Already have an advance ballot? You can take your completed ballot to any polling place until 7 p.m. on Election Day. If mailed, ballots must be postmarked by Election Day to be counted.