Mail ballots are prevalent so far in primary election

by Mary Rupert

So far, most voters have chosen mail ballots over in-person advance ballots, according to Wyandotte County Election Commissioner Bruce Newby.

“Voter turnout has not been impressive at all for in-person voting,” Newby said on Thursday.

From July 21 to July 29, just 1,201 people showed up in person for advance voting, he said.

The election office has sent out 11,534 ballots by mail and 6,359 mail ballots already have come back, he said.

“I’m not really surprised by the numbers we have so far,” Newby said.

If everyone who was sent an advance ballot by mail returns the ballot, “we’re well on our way to the average number of voters who vote in a primary,” he said.

Voters this year seem to be avoiding in-person voting because of a perceived risk of getting COVID-19.

Voters who want to vote in person in advance must do so by noon Monday, he said.

The polls will also be open on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said. Registered voters may cast a vote that day at their assigned polling places.

For those who are voting by mail, Tuesday, July 28, was the last day that the election office is sending out advance ballots by mail. More than 5,000 of these mail ballots have not been returned yet at the election office, he added.

“As long as the ballot is postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day, and received by Friday (after the election), it will be counted,” Newby said.

While voters can wait until Election Day to put ballots in the mail, the message he would like to send to mail voters is don’t wait until the end. Send it back so it can be counted and be in the election night results, he added.

As an alternative, those who forget to mail their ballots earlier can drop off their mail ballots at any Wyandotte County polling place on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said.

Occasionally some voters may become confused by hearing reports about nearby Missouri elections or remarks made by others who are not in Kansas. Newby said while Missouri has a law allowing absentee ballots if voters provide a good reason, that sort of rule has not been in effect in Kansas for years. Missouri was a little more lenient this year with the rules on their absentee voting.

For years, Kansas has allowed advance voting by mail without the voter having to provide any explanation or reason for it. Any registered voter can vote by mail if they request their ballot in advance by the deadline, he said.

“There’s no change in Kansas law,” Newby said. The election here will be conducted the same as in the past. A state law governs the election here, and ballots have to be postmarked by Tuesday, Election Day, and received by the Friday afterward, to be counted, he said.

Newby said he anticipated that advance voting in person will increase this Saturday, especially at Eisenhower Recreation Center, one of three satellite voting sites.

Also, the Wyandotte County Election Office at 850 State Ave. often sees a line of voters on Monday morning, because it is the last site open for advance voting in person on Mondays, he said. Advance voting in person ends at noon Monday at the election office.

Newby said the law doesn’t permit the election office to tabulate the mail ballots until after 7 p.m. on election night. A special board handles the mail ballots, he said.

Early voting sites are at the Election Office at 850 State, at the Joe Amayo-Argentine Community Center at 2810 Metropolitan Ave., and at the Eisenhower Recreation Center, 2901 N. 72nd St.

Remaining dates for early voting in person:

• Election Office, 850 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 30 to July 31; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1; 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Aug. 3.


• Joe Amayo-Argentine Community Center, 2810 Metropolitan Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 30 to July 31; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1.

• Eisenhower Recreation Center, 2901 N. 72nd St., Kansas City, Kansas, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 30 to July 31; 10 .a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1.

The polls also will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 4. Voters must go to their assigned polling places on Election Day.


Also, mail-in ballots that have already been requested by the voters may be filled out and mailed back, or the completed mail-in ballots may be dropped off to polling places on Election Day during the hours when polls are open.

More details about voting in this election are at http://wyandottedaily.com/youth-helping-out-with-elections-this-year/.


Stories about Election 2020 are found under the category tab “Election 2020” or at http://wyandottedaily.com/tag/election-2020/ and at http://wyandottedaily.com/voters-guide-for-2020-primary-election/.

For more election information, visit the Wyandotte County Election Office website at https://wycovotes.org/.

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