Early voting in Finney County begins today, and several local entities are working to diminish voter apathy and boost voter turnout.

To cast advance votes, Finney County residents must bring a valid government issued photo ID to the Finney County Clerk’s Office, 311 N. Ninth St., during business hours before noon Nov. 5. The office is holding extended hours for advance in-person voting several times before election day, including 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Thursday, Nov. 1, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.

Residents must apply for mailed advance ballots by Oct. 30.

Finney County Clerk Dori Munyan said about 20,660 Finney County residents had registered to vote in time for the Nov. 6 election, nearly 400 more than the number registered for the 2018 primary election, which saw 15.8 percent voter turnout, and about 3,680 more than those registered for the last governor’s race in 2014, which saw 40.5 percent voter turnout.

To date, Munyan said, the clerk’s office had mailed out 450 requested ballots and 28 mailed ballots had been submitted.

The clerk’s office has been active on social media to keep residents up to date on extended hours, deadlines and resources in English and Spanish, Munyan said. An interactive Prezi and PDF with information on mailed ballots, early voting, important dates, office hours, polling places and representatives is available on the Finney County Elections page.

Across town, the clerk’s office and Garden City High School Buffalo Broadcasting System have been encouraging voter participation for months. Jesse Bernal, GCHS broadcasting teacher, said broadcasting students had created several video public service announcements that encouraged viewers to register to vote.

The short videos played during student lunches, on the classes’ public access channel and on the jumbotron at every GCHS home football game and the football game between Kenneth Henderson and Horace Good middle schools, he said, and student council students offered to take locals’ registration in person at Buffalo Stadium.

As the clerk’s office and GCHS spread information, the LiveWell Finney County Health Coalition has offered transportation for residents living in immigrant communities. Coalition staff members will drive those residents to the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce’s Southwest Kansas Gubernatorial Debate on Thursday at Clifford Hope Auditorium, as well anyone interested in taking advantage of the extended early voting hours at the clerk’s office on Friday, said Callie Dyer, LiveWell executive director.

Staff will meet those interested in going to the debate around 6 p.m. Thursday, and beginning at 11:15 a.m. Friday at the LiveWell Finney County Neighborhood Learning Center, 305 W. Mary, Apt. DD2, for those interested in voting early. Dyer said staff will make another stop at Labrador Apartments, 603 Labrador Blvd., both days, and make several rounds throughout the day on Friday.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.