When you head out to vote this fall, your ballot will have some added options.
In addition to voting in contested races for state and federal offices, voters can also choose between candidates for local offices.
No Democrats filed to run for local offices, but Libertarians did and are slated to run against the Republican nominees for county treasurer and county council, according to the voter registration office.
Having Libertarians on the ballot for local offices has been rare in recent years, Johnson County Clerk Susie Misiniec said.
But the party is getting more and more organized across the state, Libertarian Party leaders said.
One of the factors that has led to the party’s growth is the presidential race, said Rodney Benker, chairman of the county’s Libertarian Party, who also is running for an at-large seat on the county council.
So, the party has taken advantage of that in local and state races, too, he said. While campaigning at the county fair this week, the Democratic and Republican nominees for president have been a main topic of discussion, he said.
Several of the Libertarian candidates for local offices decided to run so that voters would have more options on their ballot, Benker said.
“It makes the ticket look a little bit more round,” he said.
“Your voice is your vote, so if you only have one choice to vote for, you’re not really using your voice, you’re not letting your voice be heard.”
Across the state, more Libertarians are on the ballot, said Frank Rossa, the former county Libertarian Party chairman who now serves as the secretary for the state party.
In other counties, the ballot has a full slate of Libertarian candidates and several Libertarians are already in office, Rossa said.
Getting more candidates on the ballot locally requires finding people who want to run for office, he said.
But when people want to run, that only helps voters, who have more options of who represents them in government, he said.
“It’s time to do away with the lock the two parties have on power,” Rossa said.
“More choice for the voters is never a bad thing.”
Here is a look at local contested races on the ballot this fall:
County Council at-large
John E. Myers
Libertarian Jessica Hoyt
Republican Michele Graves