A free email newsletter breaking down the issues that affect Kansans and Missourians the most.
Delivered every Tuesday and Thursday morning
The Kansas primary election is on Aug. 2, but voters don’t have to wait that long to vote. Whether you vote on election day, by mail, or early in person, The Beacon has created a guide to help you prepare for the Kansas primary.
- How do I check my voter registration information?
- When do I vote?
- Where do I vote in-person?
- How do I vote early by mail?
- How can I make sure my mail-in ballot is counted?
- What’s on the ballot?
- What is a provisional ballot? Why might I be asked to fill one out?
- What are the photo ID requirements?
- What if my name doesn’t match the name on my ID?
- What if English is my second language?
- What if I have a disability that requires assistance or accommodation?
How do I check my voter registration information?
Using the VoterView portal on the secretary of state’s website, you may confirm the voter registration information the state has on file, including your name and address, which poll workers will use to verify your identity. If you find that any of your registration information is out-of-date, you have through today to update your voter registration for the Aug. 2 Kansas primary, and until Oct. 18 for the Nov. 8 general election.
When do I vote?
If you vote in-person on election day, the Kansas primary election is Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8. Polls open at 6 a.m. in Sedgwick County and at 7 a.m. in Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Polls close in all three counties at 7 p.m.
Kansas voters may also vote early, either by mail or in person.
Each county sets their own in-person early voting schedule. The deadline to vote early in-person is noon on Aug. 1.
In Sedgwick County, early in-person voting starts July 18. In Johnson County, early voting starts July 16. In Wyandotte County, early voting begins July 23.
If you apply for an advance ballot, those will be mailed starting July 13.
Where do I vote in-person?
Voters may confirm their polling location and other registration information in VoterView.
One of the most common mistakes voters make is showing up to the wrong polling location on election day, said Nicole Gibbs, Sedgwick County spokesperson. If a voter shows up at the wrong polling location, they should be given the option to vote from the correct location, Gibbs said. If the voter opts to stay at the incorrect location, they may vote using a provisional ballot.
If you plan to vote early in-person, check your county’s early voting locations, as each county chooses locations and operating hours for early in-person voting.
Sedgwick County voters may vote early at the county election office at 510 N. Main in Wichita during normal business hours starting July 18 through noon on Aug. 1. Early voting will also be available at 16 additional locations across Sedgwick County on July 28 through July 30. A full list of early in-person voting locations may be found on the Sedgwick County election website. There are no assigned polling locations for early in-person voting; any voter may vote at any early voting location.
Voters in Johnson County may vote early in-person starting on July 16 at nine locations around Johnson County. Starting on July 23, an additional seven early in-person voting locations will open. Different locations will have different hours of operation, so check the Johnson County election website for a full list of locations and operating hours.
Wyandotte County voters may vote early in-person at four locations around the county starting July 23. Each location has different hours of operation, so check the list on the Wyandotte County election website for more information before you go.
How do I vote early by mail?
If you want to vote early by mail, under most circumstances, you need to apply for an advance mail-in ballot each election cycle. You may apply to vote by advance ballot by printing off an application form from the secretary of state’s website and mailing it to your county election office. The application is available in English and Spanish.
Advance ballots will be mailed starting July 13. The deadline to apply with your local elections office is the Tuesday before election day — that’s July 26 for the Aug. 2 Kansas primary and Nov. 1 for the Nov. 8 general election.
Voters who receive advance ballots should make sure their completed ballots are postmarked by election day and received by the elections office the Friday following the election. Voters who choose to deliver their advance ballots should do so at a drop-off location by 7 p.m. on election day.
How can I make sure my mail-in ballot is counted?
There are some common mistakes that voters should be mindful of, Gibbs said. The most common are when a ballot is not returned on time, when someone forgets to sign the envelope or when the envelope is signed by someone other than the voter. This can happen when two voters in the same household inadvertently swap envelopes.
If election workers identify issues with signatures, they will try to contact the voter to give them the opportunity to correct the problem, Gibbs said.
If voters receive assistance from someone in filling out or returning their ballot, voters should make sure the person assisting the voter completes the affidavit on the back of the envelope, Gibbs said.
If you request an advance mail-in ballot but show up to vote in-person, you will be given a provisional ballot to ensure you only vote once.
If you mail or drop off your advance ballot, you can check its status in VoterView.
Here’s how you may apply for an advance ballot, and how to submit your ballot in-person after you’ve completed it:
Sedgwick County voters may submit advance ballot applications by mail, by email at email@example.com, by fax at 316-660-7125 or by dropping them off at the election office at 510 N. Main, Suite 101, in Wichita.
Voters may drop off advance ballots at a ballot drop box, at the Sedgwick County election office, at designated polling places on election day or at advance polling locations during voting hours. A list of ballot drop-off locations may be found on the Sedgwick County election website. All ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on election day.
Voters may drop off their advance mail-in ballots at the election office, at advance voting locations during voting hours, at polling locations on election day and at any 24/7 ballot drop box before 7 p.m. on election day. A list of locations where voters can drop off their ballots is available on the Johnson County election website.
Voters in Wyandotte County may apply for an advance voting ballot by filling out, printing and mailing this form to the county election office.
Voters may drop off their advance ballot at one of three locations in Wyandotte County. A list of drop boxes may be found on the Wyandotte County election website.
What’s on the ballot?
To see which offices and candidates will appear on your ballot, you may look up sample ballots for your precinct on VoterView.
Every voter, regardless of party affiliation, may vote on the proposed constitutional amendment that would amend the state’s constitution to say that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. If you are registered as either a Democrat or Republican, the amendment will appear at the end of the ballot after the primary races. If you are Libertarian or unaffiliated with a party, most voters will receive a ballot with only the constitutional amendment. Johnson County is the exception, with nonpartisan local government primary races on the Kansas primary ballot.
For the primary ballots, voters may only vote on primary candidates for the party with which they are registered. Unaffiliated voters may affiliate with a party when they show up to vote and vote in that party’s primary.
Additional races voters may see on their Kansas primary ballots include: U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, governor and lieutenant governor, state attorney general, state treasurer, the state commissioner of insurance, state legislature, state school board members and district judges. Whether these appear on your ballot depends on whether the office is up for a vote this Kansas primary election cycle and whether multiple candidates from the same party are vying for the office.
What is a provisional ballot? Why might I be asked to fill one out?
A provisional ballot is used when poll workers question a voter’s eligibility to vote. Rather than turn voters away, election workers will have a voter vote provisionally, with an explanation on the envelope. Provisional ballots are kept separate from regular ballots, and election officials will determine whether a voter is eligible to vote and have their ballot counted.
There are six reasons a voter might be asked to fill out a provisional ballot:
- The name they provide doesn’t match their registration.
- The address they provide doesn’t match their registration.
- Their name isn’t listed in registration records.
- They are listed as an advance by-mail voter.
- The political party they provide doesn’t match their registration.
- They didn’t provide an accepted form of photo ID.
If a voter is given a provisional ballot because they failed to provide an accepted photo ID, the voter should provide the county election office with a copy of their ID before the election is certified to ensure their vote is counted.
What are the photo ID requirements?
State law requires voters to provide a photo identification when they vote, and requires that election workers confirm the identity of a voter using that ID, Gibbs said. This applies for both in-person voting, when election workers check the ID a voter brings with them, as well as for advance ballots, when voters are asked to submit verification of their identity with their application.
Here are the forms of ID that are accepted if you vote in-person:
- Driver’s license or state-issued ID card
- U.S. passport
- U.S. military ID
- ID card issued by a Native American tribe
- Employee badge or ID issued by a government office
- Student ID card from an accredited postsecondary school in Kansas
- Concealed carry license
- Public assistance ID card issued by a government office
There are a few exemptions to the photo ID rule. Voters over 65 may use an expired ID. Voters whose religion disallows photography may declare their objection by describing their beliefs; that form is available in English and Spanish.
For voters who do not have a photo ID, the secretary of state’s website has guidance on obtaining a free non-driver photo ID or voter identification card.
What if my name doesn’t match the name on my ID?
Sometimes voters may be registered to vote under one name but have a different name on their ID, for example, voters who changed their name when they married, or transgender voters who no longer use the name they were given at birth.
When there is a discrepancy between the voter rolls and a voter’s ID, a voter may be asked to fill out a provisional ballot, Gibbs said. Voters should have the opportunity to re-register with the correct name as part of the provisioning process, she said.
What if English is my second language?
Voters whose primary language is not English may vote with assistance using an advance ballot. The person assisting must sign the statement on the envelope that came with the ballot. If voting in person, voters may also request language assistance from election workers. The secretary of state’s office also provides election information in Spanish.
For specific language assistance, contact your county election office.
What if I have a disability that requires assistance or accommodation?
Federal and state laws require that ballots and polling locations be accessible to all voters. If a voter arrives at their polling location and finds it inaccessible, the voter may request a ballot be brought to them outside.
Voters may request assistance from a friend, family member, companion or election worker. State regulations require at least one ballot machine at every polling location that allows voters with hearing and vision impairments to vote independently and privately. Voters may request audio ballots from election workers.
Voters who have a permanent illness or disability that prevents them from voting in person may apply to permanently vote by mail, eliminating the need to reapply for advance ballots every election cycle. If someone assists a voter with their advance mail-in ballot, the assisting person should sign the affidavit on the ballot envelope.
For specific accommodation questions, reach out to your county election office directly.