Secretary of State’s Office predicts at least 70% voter turn out for General Election

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 11:08 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Secretary of State’s Office anticipates a record setting turnout this General Election.

Bryan Caskey, the Kansas State Election Director, said the Secretary of State’s Office is predicting at least a 70% voter turnout for the Nov. 3 General Election. However, Scott Schwab, the Secretary of State, said he thinks it could reach up to 75%.

“None of us would be surprised if it jumps higher because it’s always in the voters hands and you never know what’s going to happen as it relates to national news, international news, the pandemic, that could suddenly cause even more people to turn out and vote," Schwab added.

The office takes a look at three factors to predict the General Election’s turnout: advance voting numbers, turnout in the Primary Election and historical trends.

According to Caskey, there are currently 1.94 million registered voters in Kansas, which is 100,000 more than in the 2018 election.

He said, "We are predicting over 1,350,000 people will vote, which is an increase of over 100,000 people in any previous election, so we are anticipating record setting turnout everywhere across the board.”

The Secretary of State’s Office is challenging Kansans to beat the 2008 71% General Election voter turnout record.

The amount of people voting early is also breaking records. Caskey said 565,000 Kansans have voted early as of Thursday.

However, the state is still waiting on 160,000 ballots and the state’s return rate is currently at 68%.

For those choosing to vote early, but have not yet returned their advance ballot, Schwab offered some advice.

“We recommend folks that if you did ask for an advance ballot late, then you can drop it off at the secure drop box locations, drop it off at any in-person advance vote poll center, drop it off at your clerks office or drop it off at any polling place in your county on election day.”

Schwab adds the extra time Kansas allows for postmarked ballots ensures time for them to get counted. He said there have only been a few incidences of residents not getting their ballots, but the majority that asked for them have received them and turned them in.

For those that want to vote in-person he said long lines shouldn’t be an issue.

“From what we’re seeing it’s going to be 15 maybe 20 minutes max to vote," Schwab continued saying, "20 minutes to decide who gets to be the next president, I’d say that’s not asking too much.”

In reference to ballot drop boxes and voter intimidation, Clay Barker, deputy general counsel for the Secretary of State’s Office, said there are no references to drop boxes in any state statute. He said statutes only apply to polling places. He said voter intimidation, however, can occur anywhere along the process of getting a ballot to turning it in.

Schwab said, “We want people to have a pleasant experience voting this year, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic and there’s a lot of political toxicity, we really want to communicate to folks that voting still should be a joy.”

For more information on 2020 Kansas election statistics, click here.

Oct. 29, 11:08 a.m.

Secretary of State to issue election turnout prediction

The Office of the Secretary of State will issue a General Election turnout prediction on Thursday.

Scott Schwab, Kansas Secretary of State says he will issue a turnout prediction for the General Election on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. He said an update on the election will also be provided.

Schwab said the update will be virtual. You can watch the news conference below:

If you cannot view our video player, click here.

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