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The basics on how to vote and get involved

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, at 1:31 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at 9:44 a.m.

It’s a major election year. Voters will choose a president, members of Congress and state legislators. In Wichita, voters also will decide whether the community water supply should be fluoridated.

For the first time, Kansas voters will be required to show valid photo ID at the polls.

Some boundaries in congressional, state and county races have changed as a result of redistricting, which redraws districts every 10 years to reflect population changes based on the Census. Registered voters received cards in mid-summer listing their voting districts.

Keep reading to find out how to participate in the Nov. 6 election and in the campaigning that precedes it. What you’ll vote on

• U. S. president and vice president

• 4th District U.S. representative

• State senators

• State representatives

• County commissioners

• Sheriff

• 18th District judges

• You'll also vote on state Board of Education, Sedgwick County district attorney and county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds. Candidates in those races are unopposed.

How, when to vote: You can vote in advance in person at the Sedgwick County Election Office on the first floor of the historic courthouse at 510 N. Main in Wichita. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 2. Beginning Oct. 30, you can vote at sites across the county. If you want to vote on Nov. 6, you must vote at your assigned polling place. To find your assigned site, go to https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org.

When does advance voting at other locations start? You may vote from noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 30, noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 31, noon to 7 p.m. Nov. 1 and 2 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at these locations:

• Bel Aire City Building, 7651 E. Central Park in Bel Aire

• Center for Health and Wellness, 2707 E. 21st St. in Wichita

• Church of the Holy Spirit, 18218 W. Highway 54 in Goddard

• First United Methodist Church, 560 N. Park in Valley Center

• Grace Presbyterian Church, 5002 E. Douglas in Wichita

• Greenwich Road Church of Christ, 1746 S. Greenwich in Wichita

• Haysville Activity Center, 7106 S. Broadway in Haysville

• Independent Living Resource Center, 3033 W. Second St. in Wichita

• Machinists Union, 3830 S. Meridian in Wichita. (Note: Advance voting at this site on Nov. 3 will be available only from 1 to 4 p.m.)

• Reformation Lutheran Church Parish Hall, 7601 E. 13th St. in Wichita

• Cargill Learning Center at the Sedgwick County Zoo, 5555 Zoo Boulevard in Wichita

• Sharon Baptist Church, 2221 S. Oliver in Wichita

• St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 2555 Hyacinth in Wichita

• Westlink Church of Christ, 10025 W. Central in Wichita

• Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn in Derby

Where can I see a sample ballot? Go to www.voteks.org. You will need to input your name and date of birth. You can also build your own sample ballot by going to The Eagle’s online voter guide at www.kansas.com/politics and punching in your address to see information on the races you can vote on.

What should I take to the polls? Take your government-issued photo ID.

What counts as a proper ID? A driver’s license or ID card issued by Kansas or another state, a U.S. passport, a student ID card from an accredited post-secondary educational institution in Kansas, a military ID, an employee badge or ID document issued by a government office, a concealed carry of handgun license issued by Kansas or by another state or a public assistance ID card used by a government office.

What if I have questions about voting?

Call the Sedgwick County Election Office at 316-660-7100.

Can I vote on the fluoridation issue if I live outside of Wichita? No. Although the water you drink may be purchased from Wichita, only people who live in the city limits can vote on whether or not to fluoridate Wichita’s water supply.

Can I still get a mail-in ballot? Yes. Get an advance voting application from the election office, online at www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections, or at most area Dillons stores. Fill it out and fax or mail it to the election office. Advance ballots will be mailed to those who apply. The last day the office will mail out advance ballots is Nov. 2.

When do I need to return my mail-in ballot? Advance ballots are due to the election office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6.

I’m worried I didn’t sign the envelope on my advance mail-in ballot. What should I do?

Signing the envelope is required for your vote to count, so if you think you might not have signed it, call the election office at 316-660-7100 to see if your ballot was accepted. Or go to the office on the first floor of the historic courthouse at 510 N. Main in Wichita to sign it.

I need a ride to the polls. Who should I call? The Wichita chapter of the League of Women Voters will provides rides to the polls to advance voting sites and on Election Day. Call Carole Neal at 316-259-7575.

Sedgwick County’s Democratic Party will provide rides to advance voting sites and on Election Day. Call the party’s headquarters at 316-262-7534.

Sedgwick County’s Republican Party will provide rides only on Election Day, Nov. 6. Call the party’s headquarters at 316-263-0550.

Where can I vote in advance in other counties?

• Vote in person at the Butler County Election Office, 205 W. Central, Suite 205, in El Dorado, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 5. If you have questions, call 316-322-4229 or 800-822-7119.

• Vote in person at the Harvey County Community Room in the basement of the courthouse, 800 N. Main, Newton. Polls are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 5. If you have questions, call 316-284-6840.

• Vote in person at the Sumner County Clerk’s Office, 501 N. Washington, Room 101, Wellington, beginning Oct. 30. Polls are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 2 and from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 5. If you have questions, call 620-326-3395.

Get involved

From raising money to door-to-door canvassing, voters can get involved with Sedgwick County-based affiliates of the state’s major political parties if they want to help campaign during the 2012 election season. Here’s how:

Republicans: To volunteer, email scrpchair@yahoo.com or fill out a short form available at www.sedgwickcountygop.com.

Democrats: Join volunteers with the Sedgwick County Democratic Party by calling the local party office at 316-262-7534 or filling out a short, online form at www.sedgwickcountydemocrats.com. Click on the “get involved” and “volunteer” tabs. Forms and information on volunteer opportunities are also available at www.ksdp.org/volunteer.

Libertarians: The Libertarians of South Central Kansas meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays at Mike’s Steakhouse, 2131 S. Broadway in Wichita, to discuss general information, election strategy and volunteering opportunities. Meetings are open to the public.

Email Dist4@lpks.org for more information.

Other state parties: For more information on Americans Elect, a nonpartisan party recognized in Kansas in 2011, visit www.americanselect.org. Details about the Kansas Reform Party are available at www.reformparty.org/kansas.

For additional information on elections in Sedgwick County, visit www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections.

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