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'Get here early and don’t give up': JoCo election officials, voters prepare for Tuesday's election

line inside JOCO arts and heritage center Monday advanced voting
Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 18:32:27-04

OLATHE, Kan. — On Tuesday, the polls will open for the primary elections in both Missouri and Kansas, and a constitutional amendment could change the latter state’s abortion laws.

Thousands have already cast their ballots in Johnson County, as advance voting ended at noon on Monday.

However, Johnson County election officials say they have been busy with voters casting early ballots, but they also expect long lines on election day.

They encourage people to make sure they're at their designated polling place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The lines were long inside the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center Monday, with voters like Mary Hart and her sister Diane Curran casting their ballots.

“Get here early and don’t give up,” Hart, a registered Kansas voter, said.

On the other hand, poll workers were busy, keeping the line moving as people poured into the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, one of three advanced voting locations.

“I wasn’t surprised because I know this is a big issue that is being voted on,” Sandy Long, a registered Kansas voter, said.

Matt Sackett said he just made it on time to cast his vote.

“I was the last person in line, and they literally told me to run as I hit the concrete here,” Sackett said. “So I had to run and get in line, and it took me less than 8 minutes.”

Like many getting ahead of the lines, long-time voters Hart and Curran said they wanted to make sure their voices were heard.

“I for sure wanted to vote no on the abortion and I wanted to make sure I got that vote,” Hart said.

Curran agreed with her sister.

“I pretty much thought the same thing,” Curran, a registered Kansas voter, said. ”I didn’t want today to go by and not have my voice heard.”

Johnson County Election Commissioner Fred Sherman says election officials processed roughly 4,000 early ballots on Monday alone during voting hours between 8 a.m. and noon.

However, he is expecting a bigger crowd come Tuesday.

“Who knows who is going to show up tomorrow,” Sherman said. “I expect in my original forecast about a 3rd of the voters, so 33-35 percent of the voters. So we could have somewhere between, I’ll go out there on a limb and say between 75 thousand to 100 thousand people here.”

One item on the ballot, the abortion amendment, has emotions running high and the eyes of the nation on Kansas.

However, Sherman has a reminder about campaigning near a polling place.

“All the sites we’ve been in contact with and have had information to them about electioneering 250 feet from the opening of the opening door of the polling place,” Sherman said. “Under state law, there can be no campaign literature. We’ve had communication with all of our polling sites and have asked them to take down any signs or campaign materials on their property.”

Sherman says to make sure you have a valid ID if you do plan to vote tomorrow.

“If you’re voting tomorrow, you need to bring a photo ID, a current government-issued photo ID, valid driver’s license will work,” Sherman said. “The election workers will have you state your name and address, so all they are doing on the photo ID is just verifying the photos that you have a resemblance of the person on the ID.”

Sherman also breaks down how the ballot will look.

“They want a traditional eight by 14 paper ballot, or they use the touch screen device—the express vote to mark their ballot. Once the voters mark their ballot, they need to verify their selection on their paper ballot,” Sherman said.

Sherman expanded on the polling process.

“Mark, verify, scan,“ Sherman said. “They mark their ballot, they physically hold their hand and verify the ballot, and they will cast their vote but scanning it into the centralized tabulator at the polling site.”