Allen County voters concerned about the advance ballot process for the Nov. 3 election should submit an application as soon as possible, County Clerk Sherrie Riebel said.
Kansas allows voters to request advance ballots until Oct. 27. The returned ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received in the county election office by the close of business on the Friday following the election.
Some concerns have been raised that delays in the U.S. Postal Service could result in ballots not being delivered in time to count. Faced with public outcry and a lawsuit jointly filed by 20 states, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday he would suspend some of his cost-cutting initiatives until after the election.
Those who are concerned have several options to ensure their vote counts, Riebel said.
Here’s the process for advance voting by mail:
— Request an advance ballot by going to www.allencounty.org/countyclerk.html or www.sos.ks.gov/ or by calling the county clerk’s office at 620-365-1407.
— Fill out the form and mail it to the Allen County Clerk’s Office, 1 N. Washington Ave., Iola, KS 66749, or scan and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org . You’ll need to include your driver’s license number or Kansas nondriver identification number, or a copy of an approved alternate form of identification.
— Starting Oct. 14, advance ballots will be mailed to those who have requested them. Complete the ballot and drop it in the mail or return it in person to the county clerk’s office at the courthouse during regular business hours.
— Ballots also can be returned at the polls on Election Day. You can skip the line and drop ballots with poll workers.
The county does not offer a drop box for advance ballots, Riebel said. That’s because there’s no way to guarantee the security of a drop box, she said.
It can take a few days for the state to receive an application for the advanced ballot, Riebel said, so she advised voters who want one to apply as soon as possible. That way, the request will be on file on the first day ballots are mailed to voters.
She also advised voters to immediately complete and return the ballot. That ensures the best chance that election officials will receive the ballot in time to count.
“The only concern I have is if they wait until the last minute,” Riebel said.
Residents may have received a letter in the mail that includes an application for advance ballots. Those applications are legitimate, Riebel said, but the clerk’s office did not send them. You can fill them out and send them to the county clerk’s office if you want to apply for an advance ballot, or throw them away if you don’t, she said.
FOR THOSE who are still concerned about the advance voting process by mail, you can vote in advance in person starting Oct. 14 at the courthouse.
On Election Day, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Simply come to the courthouse and provide appropriate identification. The advance voting process is expected to be similar to that of the primary. Precautions will be taken to protect against the coronavirus, such as Plexiglass partitions, wearing masks and providing stylus pens to voters.
Extended hours for advance voting likely will be available the week before the election.
Advance voting for the primary election averaged about 25 per day, which was a little heavier than usual but not quite as robust as Riebel expected.
At the time of the primary election, Allen County had 8,729 registered voters.
Of those, only 35% participated.