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Advanced voter turnout in Kansas climbs amid decision on abortion rights

Polling locations open to Kansas City, Missouri, voters.
Posted at 5:44 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 08:32:31-04

TOPEKA, Kan  — Counties across Kansas continue to see an upwards trend in voter turnout ahead of the primary election.

Johnson County had 16 advanced voting sites and on the last day of advanced voting, the Johnson County Election office saw lines of people before doors opened.

Fred Sherman, Johnson County Election Commissioner predicts his county will see a record turnout for the primary election and thinks it’s partly because of Amendment Two.

"So that is obviously bringing folks to the polls mainly because it's a ballot measure for all voters, partisan voters, whether you were affiliated with the Republican Party, Democratic Party or unaffiliated, you get a ballot measure to vote on the constitutional amendment question,” explained Sherman.

As of Saturday, in Johnson County more than 93,000 votes have been cast, more than 36,000 mail-in ballots were sent out and more than 20,000 mail-in ballots have been returned and processed.

Wyandotte County is also seeing an uptick in voter turnout, Michael Abbott, Election Commissioner of Wyandotte County thinks Amendment Two is impacting voter turnout in his county and leading to an increase in new voters.

“The amendment question is probably driving a lot of it. On June 24 when Roe v Wade came out with the announcement, that following day we had little over 150 new applications and every day since then, it would average at least over 100 so it's been pretty busy since that announcement,” Abbott said.

Abbott said his county has sent out 6,100 mail in ballots and as of Monday morning have received a little over 3,900 of those mail in ballots back. Abbott is unsure if his county will see long wait lines on Tuesday but wants voters to be prepared by previewing the ballot ahead of Tuesday and ensuring they are at the right polling place.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout for mail-in ballot and early voting but a lot of people like to show up on election day, usually our wait times are less than two minutes even on a busy election so I don't really don't see it being a big issue,” Abbott said.

Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab is seeking re-election this year. Schwab says as of Monday, voter turnout across the sunflower state is 36% and is up from 2018.

“We’ve been seeing a large uptick ever since about the 2018 election. We've had compelling candidates, compelling issues, we've had a pandemic and all these issues affect voter turnout,” Schwab said.

Schwab says it’s hard for his office to depict the impact Amendment Two has had on the primary but believes certain issues do tend to draw people in to vote.

“We have no data to say that, obviously, our offices are not going to do polling on it, but it's a potential, but we have no data to say yes that's what it is,” Schwab said.