New law aims to make it easier to vote in Kansas

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A new bill in Kansas is now law, and it aims to get more people to the ballot box.

Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 130 to try and make it easier for Kansans to vote after what she said were years of trying to make it harder.

The law has two major parts. 

For advanced ballots that have a different or missing signature, the law requires all counties to attempt to contact voters and allow them to fix it.

Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell says it’s nice to have this is in writing.

“If there’s ever a question about a signature, we’ll try to reach out to that voter and have a conversation about, did they sign it, was it them, those kind of things, so we’re very much already doing that as a practice in the office,” said Howell.

The second part of the law gives election officials the option to open up all polling places to voters in that county, not just the one they’re assigned to.

“People can go to any polling place they want to in their district and vote, and that just will make it so much easier. You can go to work, run out for lunch, vote, and come on back,” said Gov. Kelly.

Commissioner Howell said this makes sense for some parts of the state, but each county will have to decide if it’s best for them.

“If you have a small place that currently has 400 voters assigned to it, if the entire county is now allowed to vote there, I don’t want 80,000 people hitting that one building and expecting a good customer service experience,” said Howell.

The bill passed 119-3 in the House and 38-1 in the Senate.

The governor said she believes this law could be the first of many.

“I think we’re going to see more and more issues brought to the legislature to make voting more accessible,” she said.

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