In final hours before midterms, election exhaustion not deterring metro voters

OLATHE, Kan. -- The campaign season can be downright exhausting. Many of us are ready for it to be over.

But this midterm election has drawn unprecedented amounts of advertising money spent and record turnout in early voting. And even though many feel worn out from all the ads and hype, voters FOX4 talked to all stressed the importance of taking part in this election.

Police and traffic control were in place Monday along a deep line of cars outside the Johnson County, Kansas election office.

"I parked far away and ran over here because the long line was actually on the street," voter Pam Ferro said.

The cold, drizzly weather was not stopping long lines of determined voters.

"Actually, I came here this morning and was going to vote early (but) had to pass it up because it was longer than expected," said voter Scott Proctor, who returned to vote during his lunch break.

The polls were jam packed in the final hours of early voting  in Kansas. Even with the last-minute crowds, most voters in Johnson County got in and out in under an hour.

"No one should stay home during this election. They should come out and vote according to their beliefs," voter Marilyn McCarthy said.

Voters do admit, though, that they're ready for Election Day to be done. Political ads and divisiveness seem inescapable.

"There certainly is that fatigue because of how long our election season is. The permanent campaign lasts from the end of this election. Then we'll start talking about the 2020 elections, and around and around we go," said Andrea Vieux, assistant professor of political science at Johnson County Community College.

Even as much as we may cringe at all the negativity, experts said there's a reason candidates keep those ads coming.

"It works because people tend to remember negatives more than they remember positives. Negative ads against your opponent — it causes their supporters to question their choice, whether the person they’re supporting has a good character. Also energizes their bases because it demonstrates the person they are supporting is in fact the better of the candidates," Vieux said.

And despite the constant back and forth, the record-setting midterm election engagement and early voter turnout is encouraging.

And many voters are hoping to see positive changes ahead.

"There are so many things going on in the country that people really feel the need to voice their concerns. And my hope is after it's over, we could really unite as a United States. We have to take the results of an election and be OK with it. That's what the process is," Ferro said.

Kansas has recorded more than 300,000 early votes before all of Monday's numbers had been tallied, and in Missouri, there have been record requests for absentee ballots.

Jackson County alone has had nearly 12,000 absentee ballots requested. More than 7,100 of those were walk-in votes cast in person. More than 4,500 ballots were mailed, and as of midday Monday, about 1,100 had been returned with many more received yet to be counted.

If all of that is any indication of the interest in this election, be ready for some lines at the polls Tuesday.