Strong start to early voting leading up to November 8

Because the abortion issue fueled voter turnout in August, experts say it's possible fewer voters cast a ballot in November.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - While we’re two weeks out from Election Day in the 2022 midterm, early voting is underway, giving a sense for the kind of turnout Kansas election officials can expect. Following a stronger-than-expected turnout for the August primary, a question for the general election is if there will be a repeat of the response form three months earlier.

The second day of early voting in Sedgwick County provided a glimpse into how Election Day could be with hotly contested races at the local, state and national levels.

“I think there is a lot at stake this time around in the governor’s race and things that are important to women, so I’m glad to be able to vote and say my peace,” said early voter Jill Webster.

Tuesday, the line for early voting at the Sedgwick County Election Office was out the door. For some early voters, the wait was too much.

“I came to vote early. The line was out the door. It looked like it would take an hour, so I’ll just come back next week,” early voter Laura Ice said.

Ice said she’s never experienced a wait time fore early voting like what she encountered Tuesday.

“I have voted advanced probably the last 10 years. So, I’ve never seen a line like this,” she said.

Ice said she believes the big crowds of voters who cast their ballots in August is a sign there will be a lot of interest in two weeks for November’s general election.

“I think it will be up. I think it’ll be like it was in August,” she said. “People are energized.”

Overall, however, Emporia State University Political Science Professor Michael Smith believes voter turnout for the midterm will decrease from August’s primary turnout.

“The turnout in august was unusually high. Usually, it’s higher in November than August, but this August, abortion rights is just such a lightning rod issue that we had an unusually high turnout in August,” Smith said.

Another race growing in intensity as we approach Election Day is the governor’s race, expected to come down to incumbent Democrat Laura Kelly and GOP challenger Derek Schmidt, currently Kansas’ attorney general.

The question from Smith is what direction Kansas voters decide to go with the state’s leadership, whether a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature will continue “kind of checking each other?”

“Or are Kansans all in for the Republican party’s agenda in which case they would have a Republican governor and a Republican majority legislature working together that would pass a lot of the Republican party’s priorities,” Smith said.

Early voting at the Sedgwick County Election Office is an option from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 7, the final day for voting early. On that Monday before Election Day, the election office closes at noon. From Nov. 1-5, early-voting sites expand with 16 locations across the county.