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Strong early-voting turnout continues, 2 weeks out from Election Day

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:41 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As of Tuesday (Oct. 20), Kansas has seen more than 30,000 people voting early in-person. In Sedgwick County, early, in-person voting began Monday with sites at the Sedgwick County Election Office and INTRUST Bank Arena. While COVID-19 is seen as the main reason for record early-voting numbers, it’s not the only reason, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said.

“It’s not just the pandemic driving voters to vote, it’s strong issues, strong personalities, strong opinions bringing people to the ballot,” Schwab said.

Looking ahead to the Nov. 3 general election, Schwab said poll workers will start the process of verifying signatures of mail-in ballots already returned before Election Day. They will then start running those ballots and the ones cast early, in-person through tabulating machines. However, those results remain under wraps until polls close on Nov. 3.

While early-voting results will be some of the first seen on Election Night, Wichita State University political scientist Dr. Neal Allen urges caution to not over-interpret those numbers.

“The voters who voted early are more Democrat than Republican traditionally. (That) doesn’t tell you that Democrats are going to have a great election,” Dr. Allen said.

And even with the large showing early, that doesn’t mean Election Day at the polls will be quiet.

“It looks like we’re going to have a gigantic turnout in general,” Dr. Allen said. “We’ll probably have the biggest turnout of voters since the 1960s.”

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