Johnson County Kansas sees near-record turnout in early voting

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OLATHE, Kan. -- We may still be two weeks away from Election Day, but thousands of people are already heading to the polls and voting early.

Thousands of voting machines in Olathe are lined up and set to roll out.

“They’re all ready. They’re dressed, fresh after shave. Ready for the big dance,” said Ronnie Metsker, Johnson County election commissioner.

But this big dance is no prom, but a midterm election that's generating a lot of interest.

 “No matter how the results turn out, people need to get out and vote,” early voter William Hardy said.

“It was very important to vote, especially this election, so I’m glad we made it,” early voter Patricia Angel-Kimmel said.

Johnson County's gotten requests for 40,000 advanced voting ballots. More than 9,500 of them have already making their way back to the election office.

That's on top of more than 25,000 votes cast in just three days’ time.

“I think we`re seeing the popularity of advanced voting in person continue to rise. This is a gubernatorial election, but we’re almost at the same level of participation as the presidential, which was an all-time high,” Metsker said.

There's been plenty of stress in the lead-up to the election, after Johnson County dealt with long delays in computer software vote calculation during the August primary. This time, the election commissioner is convinced it won't happen again.

“We have made the changes in the software. It’s been certified at the federal and state level and we’re ready to go. It performed extremely fast during all the testing and so we`re confident it`ll be good on election night,” Metsker said.

Even with crowds and steady lines, early voters seem satisfied with the new machines.

“It’s very easy and to the people here are fantastic to walk you through,” Hardy said.

“Perfect instructions. Nothing to complain about,” Angel-Kimmell said.

There are a couple added perks for early voters this year. Many polling places are open until 7 p.m. and there are even some Saturday hours.

And at the Johnson Count Election Office in Olathe, if you've got an absentee ballot, you can roll through a drive-thru and put it in the secure box without having to even get out of your car.

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