Voting. It is how we let our government know what we want and what we expect from them. It’s our way of shaping the world around us on a local, state, and federal level. Once upon a time, you had to physically go to an assigned polling place, on Election Day, during set hours and cast your ballot. We’d stand in line, sometimes for hours. That was your only option. However, things have changed, and they have changed for the better. While we still have the option to vote on Election Day the traditional way, Kansas has made efforts to make voting more accessible to all voters in the state.
For example, did you know Kansas allows Advance Voting for its residents? Some other states may call this “Early Voting”. Here is how it works. If you are a registered voter in the state, you can vote by mail or in person up to 20 days BEFORE election day. Kansas voters who wish to vote by mail should contact their County Election Officer in order to request an advance ballot application.
So you requested an advanced ballot. Now what? These ballots are mailed beginning 20 days BEFORE the election. You fill it out and make sure it is post-marked on or before Election Day. It must be received no later than three days (or that Friday) after Election Day. Therefore, your mail-in advance ballot must be postmarked on or before August 4, 2020 (received by August 7, 2020) for the Primary Election and on or before November 3, 2020 (received by November 6, 2020) for the General Election.
If you are weary about making the deadline via mail, you can also hand-deliver your advance ballot to the county election office or any polling location within your county by the close of polls on Election Day.
You also have the option to vote in-person at the county election office beginning the Tuesday before Election Day, or up to 20 days before the election, depending on the county. You’ll have to verify what your county allows. Furthermore, voters who are ill, disabled, or not proficient in English may receive assistance in applying for and casting advance ballots.
Below are important dates to add to your calendar
- July 15 – Early voting for the Primary Election begins
- July 28 – Deadline for voters to apply for advance ballots to be mailed for the Primary Election.
- August 4 – Primary Election
- October 13 – Last day to register to vote for the General Election.
- October 14 – Early voting for the General Election Begins
- October 27 – Deadline for voters to apply for advance ballots to be mailed for the General Election.
- November 3 – General Election
Now that you have your ballot, and you know how you want to vote, you may be wondering WHO to vote for. Well, TILRC cannot tell you to whom you should give your vote but, we want to make sure you know your options. The Secretary of State website lists all the candidates from local to state to federal level. Ballotpedia also has a simple-to-use tool which shows you who is running, the office, and provides information on the candidate.
There’s something else you should know. Maybe you or someone you know has a felony conviction. Kansas does allow those with felony convictions on their record to vote. However, you need to make sure you are eligible. First, you must have completed your sentence, including parole or probation, and whatever terms are set within (e.g. paying fines or completing service). Then, you must re-register to vote. It is the same registration form.
For more information visit:
TILRC is working with the state to make mail-in ballot more accessible to blind/low-vision voters. We are also working with the state to include plain language on the ballots.