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KCMO's absentee voter turnout 'beyond any other election,' official says

Kansas City Election Board
Posted at 5:55 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 18:55:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At least 50 people stood outside the Kansas City, Missouri, Election Board Office, on Tuesday morning waiting to cast their absentee votes. And that line remained steady throughout the day.

"It's just been crazy, beyond any other election," Shawn Kieffer, director of elections for the Kansas City Election Board, said. "We have had more interest in this election anything we have done before."

Tuesday was the first day residents like Susan Sanders could cast absentee ballots for the November Election. Sanders said she wanted to make sure her vote was counted.

"I am going to be able to actually get the ballot, mark my choice and then put it in the machine," she said. "I didn't want to mail it; I didn't want to wait."

Naurice Brown said since "we don't know what to expect" this election, voting absentee was the safest option for her.

Kieffer said this was the biggest first day turnout the board has ever had.

"Generally on the first day of absentee, we might get 10 people at most," Kieffer said. "Today, it's been three hours in and already voted 300 people."

To help with mail-in voting, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council approved the use of $150,000 to purchase a machine that will sort and read absentee ballots, making the process safer and faster.

"Our system and our machines all talk," Kieffer said. "So, if someone were to try to vote, it will say that you already requested an absentee ballot. That's when we ask further questions. They need to surrender that ballot before they are allowed to vote."

The election board has received more than 12,000 requests for absentee ballots, and Kieffer asked voters to be patient with the process.

"If they don't hear something from us by Oct. 1, maybe call back then," Kieffer said. "It's still plenty of time to get them a ballot."