Across the country and the state, record numbers of voters are showing up to cast their ballots early.
According to the office of Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, 70 percent of Kansas’ eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots in this election.
“As in previous elections, Kansas voters have been able to vote through advance by mail ballot, by advance in-person voting and in-person voting in the 2020 general election,” he said in a press release sent out Friday. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas voters should feel confident in their options to safely cast a secure ballot.”
According to Schwab’s office, roughly 1,225,667 registered voters took part in the 2016 general election. This equates to 67.4 percent. Advance voting trends show over 565,000 ballots have already been cast through advance voting as part of the general election, according to the secretary of state’s office. Unofficial numbers report there are more than 1.9 million registered Kansas voters.
Schwab’s office encourages voters to be proactive with their mail-in ballots, saying voters could return their advance by mail ballots in the mail, drop them off at local election offices, place them in secure lock boxes at county election offices or hand deliver them to a polling location on election day. Advance by mail ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and received in the local election office by 5 p.m. Nov. 6.
In Geary County, mail-in ballots can be returned to the ballot box situated outside the Geary County office building at 206 E. Eighth St.
The trend of early voting has held true in Geary County as well.
According to Geary County Clerk Rebecca Nordyke, 17 percent of the county’s registered voters have already cast their ballots in person in advance of election day, Nov. 3 — a total of 3,048 as of Friday.
"The number per day varies,” she said.
Nordyke could not say how much the county’s normal advance turnout was, answering that "turnout varies depending on the type of election such as City/School/Primary/General and the number of contested races."
She said Geary County’s 2016 voter turnout for the general election was 49.02 percent. She believes this year’s turnout will be even higher.
"I’m hopeful the interest shown for in person advanced voting will continue on November 3, 2020 Election Day,” Nordyke wrote.
She feels this is a positive sign for Geary County. Nordyke indicated she preferred not to compare local turnout with turnout around the rest of the state.
"I’m glad that people are utilizing their right to choose how to cast their ballot – in person, by mail, or on election day. My job is to provide accessible polling places; not to compete with others regarding turnout,” she said.
It’s not uncommon, she said, for voters to turn out in higher numbers for presidential elections than for other elections.
Those who have not cast their ballots yet may still do so Monday at the Geary County Clerk’s office and at their designated polling places on Tuesday, election day. Voters need to bring their photo IDs to cast their ballots. Mask wearing and social distancing are encouraged at all polling places.