TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Shawnee County residents voted in historic numbers during the state primary, according to local election officials.
Shawnee County ballot data shows that early voting and mail-in voting more than doubled during the primary last week. Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said the highest percentage they would typically see of early and mail-in voting is 20 to 25 percent. However, he said nearly half of all votes in this primary were cast early or by mail.
“We’ve proven that we can deal with a larger volume of mail,” Howell said. “Having said that, I think if it gets a lot larger it’s going to be a bigger challenge for us to accomplish so we’re going to have to look at some options there.”
Howell said he’s happy the primary went smoothly. Along with increased mail-in and early voting, election workers also had extra measures in place, like screens and no-touch procedures, to make sure in-person voting was safe.
However, Howell said it wasn’t easy. The increase in mail-in voting meant they needed more election workers than usual.
“We really had to scramble,” Howell said. “A lot of people in the community actually responded to our requests for help. We had a lot of new people actually being a part of that process and getting trained to help process both applications and getting those ballots out in the mail.”
For the primary, Howell sent every registered voter an application for a mail-in ballot. He said he hasn’t decided whether he will do this for the general. He wants to look at the budget and also consult other county election offices before making a decision.
The general election will take place on Tuesday, November 3. The first mail-in ballots will be sent out on October 14. Early voting begins in person on October 19.