Kansas voters breaking records ahead of Election Day

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TOPEKA, Kan. — It is just over a month away from the November General Election, but Kansans only have two weeks left to register to vote. The entire state legislature and the president is up for election this year and that has resulted in record-breaking numbers for Kansas.

According to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, as of Tuesday morning they have processed 384,387 advance and mail-in ballot applications, a record for the state. This number compared to 194,505 applications for the 2018 General Election and 202,138 applications for the 2016 General Election.

As of September 1, 2020, Kansas had more than 1.8 million registered voters; 122,965 of those are voters who just registered this year. Katie Koupal with the Secretary of State’s office said the voter turnout in the state so far is above and beyond what the state has experienced in previous years.

“We are seeing that Kansas voters are being very pro-active in getting ready for the election, planning ahead in how they want to vote and then also getting those advance ballot applications in for those who do want to vote by mail,” said Koupal, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Communications and Policy.

There is still time to register to vote. The deadline to register is Tuesday, October 13, 2020. The Secretary of State’s office recommends registering through either the county election office or through the Kansas Secretary of State website. Koupal said third party registration websites and mailers may not always be reliable.

“They have the best of intent, but sometimes they don’t always for all of the required information that would make a registration or advanced by mail ballot application complete,” explained Koupal.

Teenagers turning 18 after the October 13 registration deadline but on or before Election Day, should register to vote now. The registration will be held by the county election office and go into effect on your birthday.

After registering, Kansans can choose to vote by mail, vote in-person prior to Election Day, or vote in-person on Election Day. For those voting in-person, Koupal said all Kansas polling locations will be following health and safety guidelines put out by the state. This includes social distancing, regular cleaning, plexiglass shields and hand sanitizer.

“No voter will be turned away for wearing or not wearing a mask, but we’re strongly encouraging voters to adhere to the safety guidelines,” said Koupal.

There was some concern in August that the state would not have enough poll workers for Election Day. Given the pandemic, many poll workers who are elderly or have health conditions, have chosen not to return. However, Koupal said that Kansans have helped fill the gap.

“In just 72 hours we had over 1,100 Kansans sign up to work polling locations in November. So, we’re beyond grateful, but we can always take more.”

For more information on becoming a poll worker, click here.

Koupal added the state is anticipating a nearly 70% voter turnout in November, so there many be some lines at the polls. But, she said, if the lines look longer than normal, it’s likely because of social distancing, so don’t get discouraged if there is a long line at your poll.

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