Dickinson County registered voters who plan to cast their ballots before Tuesday’s primary election will have an extra opportunity to do so.

The county clerk’s office in the courthouse, located at 109 E. First Street, will be open for advance voting from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, according to Dickinson County Clerk/Election Officer Barb Jones.

Advance ballots also can be cast at the courthouse during regular business hours Thursday, Friday and until noon on Monday.

High numbers

Jones said 655 advance voting requests were mailed out for Tuesday’s primary election.

That is the highest number for any primary election in recent years, Jones said.

As of early Wednesday morning, 360 people had walked into the clerk’s office to cast advance ballots.

Jones said she doesn’t really know the reason behind the high numbers of local advance voters. One reason might be the contentious Republican race for sheriff, but another might be fear of COVID-19 exposure.

“Maybe it’s a little of both,” Jones said.

Advance voting numbers statewide also are running higher than normal.

On July 15 — the first day of advance voting — the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office — reported that 236,046 ballots had been mailed and 136 ballots had been returned.

At the same time in 2018, only 33,067 ballots had been sent with 58 returned.

COVID procedures at polls

Dickinson County poll workers will be supplied with masks, gloves, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, Jones said.

Clear plastic shields also will be on workers’ tables to keep a little distance between workers and voters.

However, Jones said voters need to keep in mind that some locations (the Abilene Civic Center, for example) do not have enough room for “social distancing” to keep people six feet apart.

Since Dickinson County has adopted Gov. Laura Kelly’s mandatory mask order, everyone should wear masks; however, registered voters cannot be denied the right to vote.

“But a letter from the secretary of state’s office states that we cannot turn a voter away for not wearing a mask,” Jones said.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.

State law requires voters to present photographic identification when casting a vote in person. The following documents are acceptable:

Driver’s license or ID card issued by Kansas or another state; 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 education institution in Kansas; Concealed carry license issued by Kansas or another state; or Public assistance ID card issued by a government office.

Exemptions from photo ID cards do exist for some voters. For more information visit the Kansas Secretary of State website at https://www.kssos.org/elections/voter-information.html

Voters age 65 or older may use an expired photo ID, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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