TOPEKA, Kan. — The clock is winding down to register to vote for the Primary election in Kansas.
Some election offices in the state Capitol are seeing a spike in voter registration, as the “Value Them Both” amendment is expected to draw large numbers to the polls.
Shawnee County Election Officer Andrew Howell told Kansas Capitol Bureau in an interview Monday that there’s been a “significant uptick” in voter registration for the past few weeks.
“We have more registered voters in Shawnee County now than I think we’ve ever had that I’m aware of,” he said “We’re at 115,000 registered voters.”
Howell, who’s been with the county election office for about 10 years, said when he started, the number of registered voters was closer to 105,000. He said the numbers have been trending upward over the past few years.
While he said that turnout for the Primary election is typically low compared to the General, he’s expecting more people to vote this year with the “Value Them Both” amendment drawing interest from voters.
Voters in Kansas will have a critical decision to make come August 2. A vote to approve the “Value Them Both” amendment will put the future of abortion rights in Kansas in-state lawmakers’ hands.
Larry Beam from Topeka said, for him, the amendment is “the most important” issue on the ballot.
“We have been involved in the conversation and most of the people we talk to have an opinion and will be out and voting,” Beam said.
Voters registered as a Democrat or Republicans will get a ballot that matches their party affiliation.
While the deadline to switch your party affiliation has passed, those that are registered as “unaffiliated” voters will have the option of requesting a ballot from either party at their polling location by completing a voter registration change form.
Voters who remain unaffiliated or are registered Libertarians will receive a nonpartisan ballot.
All registered voters, even those who are unaffiliated, will be able to vote on the “Value Them Both” amendment.
“Those set of voters are going to be very much interested in at least getting to vote on the questions on the ballot, so I think that’s your single biggest driver for the turnout,” Commissioner Howell said.
In Shawnee County, Advance Voting by mail begins July 13. Early Voting in office begins Monday, July 18.
The deadline to register to vote in the Primary election is July 12.