TOPEKA, (KSNT)— A new bill moving through the Kansas Legislature would cut down on the deadline for advance voting ballots in the state.

Lawmakers in the House Elections committee held a hearing for the bill on Tuesday.

Committee Chair Representative Rep. Emil Bergquist, R-Park City, told Kansas Capitol Bureau that the goal of the bill is to speed up the election process.

“The best I can tell, the intent is to make the receiving and recording of the ballots more timely, to get the results done quicker,” Bergquist said.

Bergquist said he’s hoping to learn about what the bill would accomplish. Meanwhile, some democrats aren’t too keen on the proposed changes.

Rep. Vic Miller, D-Topeka, said, in 2017, he introduced a law which allows for the current deadline to receive mail-in-ballots in the state. That deadline allows ballots post-marked by Election Day to be counted if received up to three days after.

Miller said a change in mail services inspired him to advocate for the move, leveling the playing field for people living far away from major cities.

“Our mail goes from here to Kansas City, then to Kansas City back, which adds an additional day, often time more days,” Miller said. “It’s even worse in some parts of rural Kansas, because mail goes in some places to Nebraska, and in some places it goes as far away as Texas.”

Rep. Miller said the person who carried his bill on the House floor at the time was former Republican Representative Keith Esau. Now, his wife, Representative Charlotte Esau, has introduced a bill to change those plans.

House Bill 2585, would require all advance voting ballots be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Miller said he doesn’t understand the reason behind those changes, but he can guess.

“I think there are people up here that believe the fewer people that vote, the better off they are,” Miller said.

As for how the changes could impact future elections that remains to be seen.

Andrew Howell, Shawnee County Election Commissioner, said the amount of mail-in-ballots his office has seen over the course of the pandemic has increased dramatically.

“We had a significant increase in mail ballots… I believe people were heavily encouraged to use mail,” Howell said. “In 2020, we had about 24,000 and a little bit over 600 people vote by mail.”

However, Howell noted that out of the thousands of mail-in-ballots that were received in 2020, only about 217 came in after Election Day.

Still, that could add up to thousands of votes statewide. Rep. Miller said he fears what could happen, if the bill does pass.

“We’ve had tens of thousands of ballots that got counted because of this provision that wouldn’t have been counted otherwise,” Miller said. “If we enact this law, and basically repeal what we did a few years ago, many people’s votes won’t count, even though they did nothing wrong.”