Election officials preparing for changes, possible delays: What to expect when you vote

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OLATHE, Kan. — The pandemic has slightly affected this year’s voting process, which could cause delays. 

No doubt because of the pandemic, thousands more people in Kansas have taken advantage of advance and mail-in voting instead of going to the polls in person. 

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office said due to enhanced COVID-19 safety precautions and historically high advanced voting numbers, we should expect slightly delayed election results Tuesday.

As of Saturday, they’ve sent out more than 314,00 advanced mail-in ballots. In 2018, they had fewer than 52,000.

Katie Koupal, deputy assistant secretary of state for communications and policy, said close races could fluctuate more than years past based on the high number of advance by mail ballots. 

She also said counties are doing what they can now to reduce a delay in the final numbers.

“We have encouraged counties to be proactive in starting the processing of those ballots. That includes verifying the signature, removing the ballot from the envelope and getting it prepared to run through the ballot counter,” Koupal said. “It is state law for them to finish counting advanced votes prior to the close of polls at 7 p.m.”

If you plan on voting in person Tuesday, the process will be similar to years past. There will just be a little more distance between you and other voters and extra sanitary precautions. And remember to bring your mask.

If you still have a mail-in ballot, but don’t want to mail it, you can drop it in a secured drop box at your election office or any polling place in your county. 

As always, polls in Kansas are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Missouri voters get an extra hour. They’re open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Remember poll workers are dealing with changes. So you might want to give yourself some extra time to cast your vote. 

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