Fluoride election deadline nears

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

HUMBOLDT — Ballots will be mailed Sept. 1 for a referendum to decide whether fluoride will be added to drinking water in Humboldt.
Registration to vote in the mail-ballot election will remain open until Sept. 8 and anyone registered by Aug. 24 automatically will have a ballot mailed to them.
“People who register after Aug. 24 will have to come to the (county clerk’s) office and physically make a request for a ballot,” said Sherrie Riebel, Allen County clerk. “They also will be able to vote a ballot in the office from Sept. 2 to 8.”
To be counted, ballots have to be in Riebel’s office no later than noon on Sept. 22, “and that will be according to the clock on the wall of the office,” she said.
Riebel said there had been no surge in registration of Humboldt voters. “We’ve had maybe two or three new registrations since the election was announced,” she said.

HUMBOLDT councilmen decided to fluoridate the city’s water earlier this year. Then, in the face of opposition, the decision was rescinded and the council opted for a public vote.
Scientific studies have found controlled addition of fluoride to water supplies reduces tooth decay.
Fluoride reduces the rate at which tooth enamel demineralizes and increases the rate at which it remineralizes in the early stages of cavities. Most in the scientific community think it is a harmless means of preventing dental problems. Detractors claim fluoridation leads to health problems, including cancer.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment carefully monitors all chemicals, including fluoride, that are added to water in processing plants throughout the state.
Many Kansas cities have added fluoride to water for years, including Iola and Chanute. A notable exception is Wichita.