Voting by mail is nothing new for Kansas or the nation. Every state has some type of vote-by-mail process, and voters in Kansas have been casting their ballots by mail since 1996.
Because of the pandemic, many people in Johnson County and across the nation are choosing to vote by mail. In the August 2020 primary in Johnson County, for example, mail-in ballots accounted for 56% of the total number of votes cast. In Wyandotte County, 38% of the votes cast were by mail.
Voters continue to contact LWVJoCo with questions concerning everything from what happens if you forget whether you already applied for a mail-in ballot to non-mail options for returning it.
What do I have to do to vote by mail in Kansas?
First, you need to register to vote if you’re not already registered and update your voter registration if you’ve moved or changed your name. You can do this easily and quickly at ksvotes.org. For the 2020 November election, you must do this by Oct. 13.
To vote by mail, you have to complete and submit an application.
For the 2020 general election, the deadline for requesting an advance ballot application is 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. But LWVJoCo recommends people request an advance ballot as early as possible, ideally by Oct. 6 or earlier.
You can apply for an advance ballot at ksvotes.org or download the application from Johnson and Wyandotte county election offices. For details and links, click here.
I don’t remember whether I submitted an application? Should I request another one?
Many election offices haven’t started processing advance ballot applications for the November 2020 election. Status information on applications for the November election will be available on the Kansas Secretary of State’s Voter View website beginning September 25. You can also call your county election office to find out.
I’ve received more than one mail ballot application. Should I fill it out again?
No, if you’ve already applied to vote by mail, you do not need to submit another application. The Johnson County Election Office already has 100,000 mail ballot applications to process. They ask that voters avoid sending duplicate applications to their office.
When will I receive my mail-in ballot?
Ballots will begin mailing on Wednesday, Oct. 14. That date is set by Kansas law. Election officials encourage voters to apply as soon as possible to ensure your ballot is mailed as early as possible.
When do I have to turn in the mail-in ballot?
In order for a mailed ballot to count for the November election, the ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day, which is Nov. 3, and received by the election office by Friday, Nov. 6.
You can also hand deliver your mailed ballot to any advance polling location in your county and any polling place in your county on Election Day. (You will be able to bypass any lines for in-person voting to drop off your ballot.)
If hand-delivered, the ballot must be received before 7 p.m. election night at either the Johnson and Wyandotte county election offices or a polling place. Ballots may not be faxed.
Do I have to return a mail-in ballot by mail? Or are there other ways to turn it in?
In both Wyandotte and Johnson counties, voters can drop off their mailed ballots at the election offices as well as any advance polling location and polling location on Election Day.
In Johnson County, you can also return mailed ballots at eight, 24-hour, secure drop boxes throughout the county. You can find a list of the loctaions here.. Wyandotte County has said it plans to install two drop boxes for the general election.
What are the most common reasons mailed ballots weren’t counted in the August 2020 primary?
Here are some of the reason why ballots were counted in Johnson County:
- Ballots were postmarked after Election Day.
- Voter was not registered.
- Voter didn’t include required information on envelope.
- Voter didn’t sign ballot envelope.
Sources: Johnson County Election Office, Wyandotte County Election Office, Kansas Secretary of State, USA.gov