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Friday
June 05th, 2020

electionA poll worker assists a voter at the Seward County Activity Center during the 2018 election. L&T file photo/Earl WattROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

This year is a presidential election year, and other offices at all levels of government are up for grab as well.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still in place, though, some changes have been made to the voting process, and Seward County Clerk Stacia Long said the primary changes are those for election workers.

“This year, we will see the need to provide personal protective equipment for board workers and employees,” she said. “We will provide sanitizing stations for voters to use before and after casting their ballots during advance voting and on Election Day.”

Long said though voters will see a slight change in their polling place setup, election workers will still be able to accommodate social distancing requirements.

The planning process starts very early each election year, and Long said this allows election officials to better prepare for any situation thrown their way.

“I am thankful for my colleagues from across the state, as we all work together and share ideas on what works and doesn’t work,” she said. “Though the processes have not changed, we are making every effort to advise voters of all options when it comes to voting.”

Primary elections in Kansas are coming up in August, and Long said it is important to know what a primary election is in order to be prepared prior to voting.

“A primary election is held for a political party to nominate their candidates for the offices to be filled at the next general election,” she said. “Such primaries are held on the first Tuesday in August of each year in which a general election is to be held. No candidate’s name may be printed on the general election ballot unless such candidate has been nominated by the political party by a primary election.”

Long said Kansas operates a closed primary system in which voters who have affiliated with the given political party on or before Election Day.

“Registered voters not affiliated with either party 21 days before the election may choose to affiliate with a party on or before Election Day,” she said.

Long then outlined what unaffiliated voters are, when affiliated voters can vote in primaries and the limited party changes voters can make before a primary.

 

Not Affiliated (Unaffiliated)

 A person registered to vote but not affiliated with any political party 21 days prior to the election may choose to affiliate with the Republican Party or Democratic Party on or before election day and may vote a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot in the primary election. The person affiliates by completing a voter registration application and checking “Republican” or “Democrat.”

 

Political Parties “Republican” or “Democrat”

• A person registered as affiliated with the Republican Party 21 days prior to the election may only vote a Republican ballot in the primary election. 

• A person registered as affiliated with the Democratic Party 21 days prior to the election can vote a Democratic ballot in the primary election.

 

Party Changes before Primary are Limited

Registered voters who are affiliated with a party (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian) may not file paperwork to change their party affiliation from June 1 through August of this year.  A registered voter who is unaffiliated may, however, affiliate with a party during this period, when voting in a primary or when requesting an advance ballot.

Long said there are no rule changes for this year’s elections, but she said it is important voters be aware of the laws that govern each election.

“It is easier now more than ever to obtain necessary information to be an informed voter,” she said.

Long said she encourages everyone to visit the Kansas Voter View Web site.

“There, they can check their registration status, address, party affiliation and even see a sample ballot (once ballots are available),” she said. “This year, voters will be able to track their mailed ballot starting from the application process to when the ballot is mailed to them and when the ballot has been returned and processed by the election office.”

Long said she does not anticipate any major changes for the general election.

“However, we do expect a higher turnout due to it being a presidential election year,” she said. “While we do not know what our situation will look like come November, we will be able to adapt accordingly.”

 

Long then outlined the three ways to vote in Kansas.

 Advance vote by mail

Since 1996, advance voting by mail has been offered to all Kansas voters. To receive a ballot by mail, the voter is required to complete and return an Advance by Mail Application. 

• By email to slong@sewardcountyks .org or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

• By mail to Seward County Clerk, 515 N. Washington Ste. 100, Liberal 67901

• In-person to Seward County Clerk, 515 N. Washington Ste. 100, Liberal 67901

The application must be completed in full and must include a Kansas driver’s license number or non-driver’s identification number.  If they do not have such a document, they must send a photocopy of government issued photo ID as required by Kansas law.

 

Advance vote in–person 

• At the Seward County Administration Office, 515 N. Washington, Liberal. 

Dates and times for in person advance voting will be available on the Seward County Web site.

 

Election Day voting

Vote at the assigned polling place Aug. 4, (Primary) and Nov. 3 (General) polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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