State election officials evaluate Kansas' 2020 primary election

Steve & Ted mornings
August 06, 2020 - 5:45 am
State election officials evaluate Kansas' 2020 primary election

The Kansas primary vote went well despite the pandemic. But state election officials are already planning changes before the fall election. Katie Koupal with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office says there’s already a shortage of workers, and the coronavirus has made recruiting harder.

"Historically our election workers tend to be more advanced in age so we're trying to get a better variety of the Kansas demographic involved in our elections," said Koupal.

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Kansas had slightly higher than normal poll worker absenteeism during the primary, but it wasn’t enough to keep any polling places from opening on time.

Election officials in three of Kansas’ largest counties reported uneventful voting in the state’s primary election, due in part to an increase in advance and mail-in balloting.

Nathan Carter, office administrator for the Johnson County Election Office, said no major problems were reported. Election workers are concentrating not only on in-person voting but also collecting thousands of mail ballots. The county sent out 106,000 mail-in ballots, and received about 70,000 back.

In-person voting was steady in Sedgwick County, with short or non-existent waiting times. Deputy Election Commissioner Melissa Schnieders said the county sent about 56,000 mail-in ballots for this election, a big increase from previous elections.

Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said turnout in that county was “not huge.”  He said only three or four poll workers out of more than 400 didn’t show up for election duty, which is typical of most elections.

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