A "record setting" number of Kansans are expected to case their ballot in next week’s election, with the Secretary of State’s office Thursday projecting 70% of all registered voters to cast their ballots.
If the state’s prediction comes to pass a higher number of people will vote compared with the 2016 general election, which saw 67% of Kansans head to the polls.
Elections Director Bryan Caskey said that the office was also encouraged by the Aug. 3 primary, which he said had 100,000 more voters turn out than in any prior primary.
"We anticipate that will continue through to the general election," he said.
As of Thursday morning over 567,000 Kansans had already cast their ballot, representing roughly a quarter of all registered voters. That has stemmed from voters mailing in or dropping of ballots early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And with 150,000 advance mail ballots still outstanding, it is likely that number will continue to grow.
In addition, 1.94 million Kansans are registered to vote – 100,000 more than there were in the 2018 midterm elections.
Secretary of State Scott Schwab said that he wouldn’t be surprised if turnout was actually higher than his office is initially projecting.
"We try to be a little bit more conservative in these things," he said. "We don’t want to cause panic that it will be super, super high or make people thing it will be super, super low."
Even still, Schwab said Kansans should not expect long lines at the polls, even as other states, ranging from Georgia to New York, have seen hour-plus wait times.
Social distancing might make the wait seem longer than it actually is, he cautioned.
"It shouldn’t take an hour to vote, it shouldn’t take a half hour to vote," he said. "It should take 15, maybe 20 minutes at the most."
And while some states, including the swing states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, are fearing that it will take days to count ballots, Schwab predicted that would not be the case in Kansas.
Counties are able to open, handle and process advance ballots, with the data stored until it can be tabulated on election night.
And while some areas, including Sedgwick County, have a backlog of mail ballots waiting to be dealt with, Schwan said all signs point to most of them being processed by Nov. 3.
Results in the key races, including the presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House contests, should be known on Tuesday night, he said.
"I don’t think its going to slow things down where it is going to take a week," Schwab said of the increase in mail balloting. "I just don’t think that is going to take that long in Kansas."