In past races for Shawnee County elected offices, it was unusual for candidates to offer websites promoting their campaigns.
But this fall, six of the 12 candidates on the ballots for county government offices are offering websites or Facebook pages -- or both -- to help educate Internet users about their campaigns.
"Social media provides a better way for a voter to get to know their candidate and make an informed decision," said Kevin Cook.
Cook, a Democrat, is the only candidate from any party on the Nov. 6 ballot for the 2nd District County Commission seat being vacated by Democrat Mary Thomas, whom Cook defeated in the Aug. 7 primary election.
Cook said that in addition to maintaining a campaign website, he is using the Facebook and Twitter social networks to connect with voters in his district, and established a Paypal account to enable his campaign to accept contributions by credit card online.
Democrat John Lamb, who is seeking the commission's 3rd District seat, offers a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter page.
"I am working on building up a following so that I am able to get my message out to as many voters as possible," he said. "The current age of technology has advanced the ways that we have to get the message out. Every vote matters and every person I am able to reach might make that difference."
Lamb's opponent, Republican Bob Archer, knows the importance of every vote from personal experience. He defeated Lisa Stubbs by one vote out of more than 4,000 cast in his April 2009 run for the District 7 Topeka City Council seat he currently holds.
Archer offered a website during his council campaign but isn't doing that for his commission run, though his campaign does offer a Facebook page.
Archer said he prefers to deal with voters face-to-face, by email or by phone.
David Mountain, a Libertarian, also is running for the 3rd District seat being sought by Lamb and Archer. The seat has been held since 1997 by Democrat Ted Ensley, who is leaving the commission to seek a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.
Websites are being offered by both candidates, Democrat Larry Mah and Republican Bill Sheahan, in the campaign for the county treasurer's office being vacated by Democrat Larry Wilson, who isn't seeking re-election after serving as treasurer since 2003.
The Sheahan and Mah campaigns also both offer Facebook pages and accept contributions online.
"It is a good and inexpensive way to make your information available to the public," Sheehan said.
Democrat Michael Gilmore is offering Facebook and Twitter pages in his effort to unseat incumbent county Clerk Cynthia "Cyndi" Beck, a Republican. Gilmore also accepts contributions online.
Voters can access the Internet to learn about candidates for county offices by going to the Voter's Guide The Capital-Journal first made available Friday at CJOnline.com/elections/2012.
In addition, the League of Women Voters polled candidates for some county offices and makes their responses available online at http://onyourballot.vote411.org/index.do. If voters enter their street address, the site provides answers to campaign-related questions provided by candidates on their particular ballot for local, state and federal races.
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