Kansas Secretary of State: Mail-in voting secure enough to have election on time

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Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 4:06 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A tweet from President Donald Trump Thursday in part said an increase in mail-in ballots will lead to an inaccurate and fraudulent election in November. The president also suggested delaying this year’s presidential election.

Eyewitness News Thursday spoke with Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab about the president’s concern. Schwab said mail-in voting is a safe, secure way to complete your civic duty. He said mail-in voter fraud is not a systematic issue and is not a reason to delay the presidential election.

“It becomes less and less of an issue very year as we become better and better at securing elections,” schwab said. “So, with voter ID and things we have in the state of Kansas, there’s no reason to prolong the election anymore.”

While Schwab expects an increase in mail-in ballots this year, he’s confident the vote totals will be accurate. It may just take longer to count.

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said the county usually has 65,000 to 70,000 mail-in ballot applications for a presidential election. Three months out from the general election, she said the Sedgwick County Election Office has already reached that amount. Lehman said there’s an in-depth process to verify mail-in ballots. That starts by checking your photo ID and signature when you apply.

Once you fill out the ballot and send it back, Lehman said the election office will verify that the signature on the envelope belongs to you, “to make sure you’re the person who returned the ballot.”

Lehman said the election office staff is trained on how to verify signatures and will make sure your signature on the envelope matches the one on file from your request. If the signatures don’t match up, Kansas Law requires the election office to contact you so you can fix it if they’re already canvassing. County commissioners vote on whether to accept a ballot.

One concern with mail-in ballots Schwab and Lehman share is voters mailing in their ballots on time.

“When you take your ballot and give it to the U.S. Postal Service, the state and county have no control over the post office, and have no control over the ballot getting in on time,” Schwab said.

That’s why Schwab and Lehman recommend dropping your ballot off at your poling place, or mailing it at least one week in advance of Election Day.

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