With no candidate on the ballot, write-in votes will likely determine Ward 1 Fairway council seat

Jim Poplinger
Fairway Councilmember Jim Poplinger didn’t run for another term — and no other candidates filed to seek his seat.

The unofficial final results posted by the Johnson County Election Office Tuesday night seemed to settle nearly every race in the Shawnee Mission area — but not all.

In Fairway, some residents will have to wait until next week to find out whether they’ve got a clear winner to represent them on the city council.

No one filed to run for the Ward 1 seat on the city council being vacated by Jim Poplinger, who is retiring from the council. The ward includes almost all of the “golden triangle” between State Park Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway, as well as neighborhoods to the north.

With no candidate listed on the ballot, voters in the ward were forced to write in a name. The unofficial results from this week show that 76 voters did just that.

Fairway City Administrator Nathan Nogelmeier sent a message to council members detailing the process as it will unfold in the coming days:

Write-in votes will be verified and tallied between now and the canvass next Thursday. The official winner will be made public then and the county election office will send a certificate to the registered voter who received the most votes. It is likely the election office will reach out to me to initiate contact as their only form of communication would be through the USPS. That registered voter will then decide if he/she is willing/able to serve the term. If so, he/she will be sworn in at the December meeting like everyone else. If they choose not to serve, the City will follow its process to fill a vacancy. In this case, the Mayor will appoint a committee and solicit applications from anyone interested. The Committee will interview the applicants and narrow the list to two. Those two will be interviewed by the council as a whole and the City Council will vote to determine which applicant will fill the vacancy. It is important to note that the election office does not “work down the line” so to speak. If the top vote getter does not accept the position, they do not go to the second and so on. They consider their process complete and we move to the established City process.

The established city process he references would have the mayor appoint a committee to identify and appoint a Ward 1 resident to fill the seat.

The Johnson County Board of Canvassers will meet to open the general election canvass next Thursday, Nov. 13.