Advance voting for the Nov. 3 General Election will exceed all previous Kansas records.
Since advance voting started on Wednesday, Oct. 14, more than 100 people per day have come to the Dickinson County Courthouse to cast their ballots in person, according to Dickinson County Clerk/Election Officer Barb Jones.
And that does not even include the number of people who have requested their advance ballots be sent by mail.
As of Friday, Dickinson County already had sent out 1,873 advance ballots by mail.
“With the mail out already at 1,873 and getting 100 people a day for walk-in voting, we’re breaking all kinds of records,” Jones said on Friday.
She recalls a previous election year when the county had 2,129 total ad-vance voters — walk-in and mail, but this year will exceed that.
“All the county clerks in the state are reporting record breaking numbers,” Jones said. “I know records are being shattered.”
Jones believes the reason for the early voting has to do with the various high-profile races, particularly the presidential race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
“Everybody is paying attention to the presidential race and is interested in voting this time,” Jones said. “But COVID probably has something to do with the early turnout, too.
Voting booths and a partitioned-voting area, complete with lighting, has been set up in the hallway outside the clerk’s office for advance voters.
In a typical year, advance voters have voted in designated areas set up in-side the clerk’s office, but new spaces were added this year.
“Due to COVID, we wanted to avoid congestion in our office. We are trying to keep people separated and safe,” Jones explained.
Advance vote in person
Registered Dickinson County voters who wish to cast their ballots in person prior to the Nov. 3 election can do so at the courthouse located at 109 E. First, Abilene, from 8 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The clerk’s office will be open an extra day for walk-in voting on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 9 to noon.
Advance voting ends at noon on Monday, Nov. 2 — the day before the General Election.
Advance vote by mail
The Dickinson County Clerk’s office previously mailed out advance voting re-quests to every registered county voter. For those wanting a ballot mailed to them, the completed request form must be in the clerk’s office by Tuesday, Oct. 27 in order for a ballot to be mailed.
“That’s the last day we can accept requests,” Jones said. “So people cannot walk in the next day and say ‘I dated it yesterday’.”
Those who are voting by mail must make sure their ballot has been post-marked before or on Nov. 3, Election Day, to be counted. Those ballots will be counted as long as they are received by the clerk’s office by the Friday after the election, Nov. 6.
Outside ballot box
For voters’ convenience, a secure ballot box has been erected at the front door of the Dickinson County Courthouse for voters to drop their ballots.
“People can put their ballots in there, anytime 24/7,” Jones said. “There’s security cameras around the courthouse watching it, it’s bolted to the ground and it’s locked and we check it every day to collect the ballots out of it.”
Contact Kathy Hageman at firstname.lastname@example.org.