Sedgwick County pushes for change to allow residents to vote at any site

Published: Dec. 13, 2018 at 5:11 PM CST
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Voting next year could get easier as Sedgwick County commissioners encourage the state legislature to change the rules when it comes to where you can vote.

Currently, voting locations are decided by where registered voters live. Sedgwick County commissioners now encourage lawmakers to allow Kansans to vote at any location within their county on Election Day.

"I think that is extremely convenient. It is very important for us to exercise our civil right to vote," Wichita resident Julie Sullivan says.

Sedgwick County already has the technology for such a change.

"Our voting machines that our taxpayers paid $7 million for just a couple years ago are capable of any precinct that you are in," Sedgwick County Commission David Dennis says. "We can vote it on our machines."

If the voting-rule change happened, it would also apply to early voting. Dennis and Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman say a change would not lead to increased problems with voter fraud.

"It is very secure and in addition, there is now way that someone could try to manipulate (a) vote one way or the other," Dennis says.

In November's election, more than 1,100 voters went to the wrong polling site in Sedgwick County. The proposed change would alleviate that problem.

"With technology, we live in a world of massive convenience," Wichita resident Sean Lafave says. "I don't know why this couldn't be done earlier. I think it is an excellent idea."

The National Congress of State Legislators says 13 states allow people to vote at any location. The first state to do this was Colorado in 2004.