Vol. 2, Issue 8                                           August 2017
Updating the Integrity of our Elections
I still remember the first time I voted. The heavy-looking voting machine seemed as bulky as an upright double freezer. I remember pulling the curtain handle and flipping the little levers to make my selections for the various races. 

That colossal equipment was replaced in 2002 with pass-through grant funding from the state. Congress had passed the Help America Vote Act and provided most of the money for counties to modernize. Sedgwick County kicked in the remaining 10% and that is how we acquired the voting equipment most of us have grown accustomed to these last 15 years. Obviously, the time has come once again to upgrade this newer worn-out equipment. Unfortunately, there is not more grant funding. The cost is ours alone. 

Wisely, in 2012, the county started planning for this purchase. Over the next five years, the county saved up enough revenue to replace the iVotronic machines with the latest cutting-edge technology. Last year, the county election office performed extensive analysis on various voting platforms. Many people from the public also weighed in and together, a clear consensus developed about which equipment was the best. The cost: about $6,000,000. 
The voting process itself also needed to be upgraded. New features such as a per-person paper ballot audit trail are a must-have. These new machines have many features to ensure every vote will count and the results will be accurate. 

Nevertheless, Sedgwick County will push the legislature once again to pass a law that would let us and make us perform election audits. Until now, judges have ruled that audits ‘could’ potentially identify specific elector’s choices and therefore the paper-trail couldn’t be legally audited. Not being able to perform a paper trail audit has reasonably caused some distrust. If we cannot legally double check the results of the electronic voting machines, how can we prove they accurately tallied the voter’s choices? 

Looking forward to 2018, we are hopeful the county’s effort to pass election machine auditing will pass. The good news is, we are ready. This robust new equipment is designed to be audited. Every voter’s selections are printed on an individual paper ballot which is then electronically tallied. Just as easily, during an audit, the paper ballots can simply be hand counted and the totals cross checked. 
By investing and upgrading the voting equipment and process, Sedgwick County is working for you. 
Commission Adopts 2018 Budget
The 2018 operating budget was adopted on Wednesday, Aug. 2. It was created using the four priorities listed in the County’s strategic plan: Safe & Secure Communities, Human Services & Cultural Experiences, Communications & Engagement, and Effective Government Organization.
The total 2018 adopted budget is $425,233,884, which includes $407,276,187 for County government and $17,957,696 for Sedgwick County Fire District 1. It is a balanced budget with targeted bonding necessary for managing the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and is based on an estimated flat property tax rate of 29.359 mills for Sedgwick County and an estimated 18.371 mills for the Fire District.
Roughly 46 percent of the budget will be allocated for Safe & Secure Communities. It will assist with flood control and improved drainage, public safety technology and physical space, roads, and bridges. 
Effective government organization will receive 31 percent of the budget. It can be broken down into employee compensation, improving efficiencies, and funding increased costs of doing business.
Human services & cultural experiences make up 22 percent of the budget. This funding is shown through cultural and recreation agreements and changes within the Department of Public Services.
The Board of County Commissioners, County Manager’s Office (which includes the communications team), and Elections Office makes up the communications & engagement priority. It is one percent of the adopted budget. This funding will add 10 new election polling places and increase funding for community engagement.
Sedgwick County’s 2018 budget will take effect Jan. 1, 2018; it will be available for review online late 2017. The 2018 Recommended Budget can be found online: http://sedgwickcounty.org/finance/2018budget.asp.
Back to School Reminders
As students head back to the classroom, Sedgwick County wants everyone to enjoy a safe and fun school year. The County’s mission is to provide quality public services to our community so that everyone can pursue freedom and prosperity in a safe, secure, and healthy environment. Here are a few things to keep in mind so our community and students have a safe school year:

  • Make sure children know their full name, street address, and phone number.
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing a street.
  • Never attempt to cross a street between parked cars.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk.
  • As school buses become a regular sight, give them enough room to stop safely. 
  • It is illegal to pass a bus stopped for loading and unloading students. 
  • Slow down and stay alert in school zones while driving. 

Sedgwick County offers required school vaccinations at the Division of Health’s Main Clinic at 2716 W. Central Ave. 

The cost for vaccinations for uninsured children age 18 and younger are based on a sliding fee scale and proof of income is required. Most insurance is accepted, including Medicare and Medicaid. Please bring your child’s shot record to the Clinic. For more information about vaccinations, please contact your primary care physician or the Division of Health at 316-660-7300. 
Fill the Boot with Sedgwick County Fire
Every year the men and women of Sedgwick County Fire District 1 seek donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Fill the Boot fundraiser. Over Labor Day weekend you may see them at various locations around the county taking donations. They will not be at intersections for safety reasons. This year the Fire District hopes to raise $22,000. Unless called away for an emergency, expect to see them the following dates and times: 
  • Friday, Sept. 1 from noon to dark
  • Saturday, Sept. 2 from 8 a.m. to dark
  • Sunday, Sept. 3 from 8 a.m. to dark
  • Monday, Sept. 4 from 8 a.m. to noon

Representatives from the Fire District will be at the following locations taking donations unless called away for an emergency:
  • Park City – Leekers, Quik Trip
  • New Market Square – Wal-Mart, Dillon’s
  • Haysville – Cash Saver, Kwik Shop
  • Goddard – Kwik Shop, Wal-Mart
  • Derby – Lowe’s, Kwik Shop
  • 63rd & Rock – Quik Trip 
  • 37th & Woodlawn – Dillon’s
  • Kellogg & Greenwich – Wal-Mart, Lowe’s 
Around the County
Commissioners and proxy participated in the City Primary Election vote canvass on Monday, Aug. 7.
Official election results can be found online at the Election Office’s website: http://sedgwickcounty.org/elections/election_results.asp
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203

Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203

Contact Corporate Communications Manager:
Keturah Austin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203