With just over a month until election day, an election official is reminding Leavenworth County voters of some important dates in the next few weeks.
One of the most important, according to County Clerk Janet Klasinski, is the new deadline for voter registration. In year's past, that deadline has been two weeks before the election. Because of the Secure and Fair Elections Act passed in Kansas last year, the deadline for voters to register with be Oct. 16, three weeks before the election.
According to information from Kalsinski's office, anyone who has moved or changed their name must register to vote — even those who have just moved to a new residence within the same city or even a new unit within the same apartment complex. Voters can register in person at the county clerk's office, any public library or city hall or online at voteks.org or leavenworthcounty.org.
Also available at the county clerk's office or online at the county's website will be applications for advance ballots. Klasinski said those who want an advance ballot should fill out one of the forms now — mailing of those ballots begins Oct. 17, the day after voter registration books are to close until after the election. County clerks in Kansas are given some discretion as to how long to allow advanced voting — they can begin up to 21 days before an election.
“I just think it's better to take advantage of the time,” Klasinski said, to maximize the availability of advance voting.
Klasinski said her office will mail out advance ballots by mail until Nov. 2. Those mailed back must be postmarked no later than Nov. 5. Advanced ballots can be returned in person to the county clerk's office until 7 p.m. Nov. 6. Those who vote advance ballots need not show up to their polling place on election day.
All advanced ballots have a statement on the front that must be signed by the voter, testifying that they filled out and placed the ballot themselves in the return envelope. Klasinski said implementation of the SAFE Act in Kansas also means that those voting advanced ballots by mail must write their Kansas Drivers License number on the application or send a photocopy of valid identification with the ballot application.
But mail is not the only way to vote in advance — Klasinski said in-person advanced voting will also begin Oct. 17 in the clerk's office. The service will be available during regular office hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 7 p.m. on Oct. 29, Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Klasinski said her office will also be conducting in-person advanced voting from 1 to 7 p.m. at three different satellite locations in the southern portion of the county: On Oct. 29 at the Tonganoxie Public Library, Oct. 30 at the Basehor Community Library and Nov. 1 at the Linwood Community Library. Advance voting in person will end at noon Nov. 5.
All voters will have to show one of the accepted forms of photo ID when they vote to comply with the SAFE Act.
From later hours to satellite locations, Klasinski said she wants to encourage more people to take advantage of those opportunities.
“I just think it's going to eliminate some of the lines on election day,” she said.