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Johnson County voters turn out on last day of early voting

Posted at 1:13 PM, Nov 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-05 17:44:32-05

OLATHE, Kan. — A rainy Monday didn’t stop many voters in Johnson County from casting their ballots on the final day of early voting in Kansas. 

Before noon, a line had formed around the building at the Johnson County Election Office in Olathe, where people waited to vote ahead of Election Day on Tuesday. 

"Today I was determined to get out and vote," Wendy Jahner said. 

Jahner didn't let the long lines keep her from completing her mission to vote early.

She barely made the noon cutoff at the polls. Cars were lined up nearly a half-mile at the Election Office in Olathe. Waiting in line for a parking spot was just the first line voters would have to wait in. 

"It was definitely a lot longer than the first time, but the first time I went, we went early in the morning," Ryan Burke said. 

Burke was taking advantage of early voting. As a second-time voter, he said the lines didn't bother him. 

"As soon as we got our ballots it was like go, we were going in fast. I got to see the end of the line by the time I got out of here so I guess we were moving alright," he said.

As of Saturday, 102,000 Johnson County residents had cast in-person early ballots, according to the Election Office.

"It's a privilege in the United States to do it, and I think it's your American duty to get out and vote. And you can't gripe about it if you don't get out and vote," Wilma Sanderson said. 

A high voter turnout is also expected on Election Day. Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker said that Johnson County has 1,800 trained election workers ready for Tuesday. Of those volunteers, 400 are supervising judges who will lead the polling locations. 

The county has 1,800 voting machines set up throughout the 195 polling locations, Metsker said. 

“They are all dressed up for the big dance and ready to go,” he said. 

For voters looking to avoid the longest lines on Tuesday, Metsker suggested going in the middle of the day. He said there will likely be a “slight surge” when the polls open at 7 a.m., and another surge at the end of the workday. 

“If you have flexibility, maybe come during the middle of the day, but we have put out every machine that we could possibly put out to a given location to serve the public. That’s our mission,” Metsker said. 

Metsker also encouraged voters to review a sample ballot and double-check their polling place before heading to the polls. Voters on Tuesday can only cast ballots at their designated polling location, which is different from early voting.

Early voting in Kansas ended at noon Monday. Polls in Kansas open at 7 a.m. on Election Day and remain open until 7 p.m.