TOPEKA — Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Kansans are turning out in force for Tuesday's election, but he said he still expects turnout to fall below what it was in 2008.
Kobach visited five polling places in northeast Kansas Tuesday, and he said officials reported long lines before polls opened.
Kobach said Wichita was the only location where he had heard of waits in excess of an hour. He said there's no hard rule for how long is too long, and he said that the waits are largely a result of how much counties spend on voting equipment and how many polling places are available.
He said that the relatively new voter ID law appears to be working well, and he said that none of the officials he talked with at polling places in Johnson, Shawnee and Wyandotte counties had issued provisional ballots because people didn't have their ID.
"It appears people are accustomed to it now," he said.
Kobach had predicted a 68 percent turnout. He said that 165,000 people have voted in advance by mail and 168,000 voted in advance in person. No party breakdown was available. In 2008, 299,000 people voted in advance by mail and 166,000 voted in advance in person.
Kobach said was surprised by the strong turnout Tuesday, especially considering there are no statewide races.
"They're voting out of duty or they're taking a real interest in the state legislative races," he said. "Both of those are positive signs. That's very healthy when we have good turnout even though we don't have big statewide races on the ballot other than the presidential race."