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On Nov. 3, thousands of registered voters in Kansas and Missouri turned out to polling places to cast their ballot for crucial races, from the presidency to local races and statewide ballot initiatives. Even COVID-19 could not deter many voters from making sure their voice was heard — in Kansas City, Missouri, COVID-positive voters experienced hours-long wait times at curbside voting at Union Station downtown.
The Beacon spoke with voters at polling sites across the metro — on both sides of the state line — about their voting experience, their thoughts on the election and what motivated them to cast their ballot in person in a year marked by an ever-growing pandemic.
Kansas City, Missouri: Gail Davis voted at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the new centralized polling locations created because of the pandemic. Davis said her voting experience was “absolutely easy. We literally got here 10 minutes ago.” She’s excited to see the results come in. “I have faith in our people,” she said.
Jackson County, Missouri: Longtime voter John Johnson said he’s never had a voting experience as frustrating as this year. He tried voting early this week, but the lines were too long. Today he went to two polling sites before finally voting at Raytown City Hall. Voting is important, Johnson said, because, “If you don’t vote, then you don’t have any sayso into what could happen.” He wasn’t worried about voting during COVID-19. “As long as you wear a mask and social distance, it’s OK… It’s just a hassle to vote. Make voting easier for Missouri residents.”
Platte County, Missouri: Resident Jimmy Wong, a Trump supporter, said he was excited to see the hundreds of people waiting to cast their ballots at the Heartland Church of Christ.
Clay County, Missouri: Resident Theresa Green said that she was blessed to be able to vote and make an impactful change in her community.
Wyandotte County, Kansas: Voter Tay Hill, 25, said she had an easy time voting today. “I voted because my ancestors did their right to let me, so I feel like it’s only right that I go and help support the ones that supposedly care for lower-income families and people in my city who actually need the help.”
Kansas City, Missouri: This woman, who didn’t want to be identified because she was positive for COVID-19, waited hours with her husband to vote curbside at Union Station. “We’ll have been waiting maybe a total of four hours to cast my vote,” she said. “We have a number of children at home who are virtual learning so we’ve had to take time out of our work days and school days to cast a ballot.”
Johnson County, Kansas: Tuesday was Hans Von Rautenfeld’s first time working an election. He’s been at the polls since 4:30 am, and won’t leave til 7:30 p.m. He wanted to work the polls, he said, because he’s “too old to protest,” but still wanted to be a part of the democratic process.
Kansas City, Missouri: “The women in my life had me coming down here… they want to see a change,” said Willie Reynolds, who voted at the Garfield Elementary School in historic Northeast Kansas City. “Biden’s the right choice for now.” Reynolds said he’s concerned about COVID-10, but felt safe today at the polls.