Politics & Government

Kelly signs bill that lets Sedgwick County residents vote at any county polling site

Monday was last chance to vote early in Sedgwick County

(FILE VIDEO) Voters lined up at the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse to vote early Monday. The Election Office was open from 8 a.m. to noon for advance voting, the last opportunity to vote before Election Day on Tuesday. (Nov. 5, 2018)
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(FILE VIDEO) Voters lined up at the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse to vote early Monday. The Election Office was open from 8 a.m. to noon for advance voting, the last opportunity to vote before Election Day on Tuesday. (Nov. 5, 2018)

Sedgwick County residents will now have the option to vote at any polling place on Election Day.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly this week signed into law Senate Bill 130, which gives counties the option to let voters cast ballots at any polling place in the county — not just the one they’re been assigned.

“This law is about local control and protecting every vote,” Kelly said in a statement. “I applaud all of the local and state officials who worked together to make this law a reality, especially those in Sedgwick County who were the driving force behind it.”

The proposal had the backing of Sedgwick County and Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman and Wichita Democratic Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau.

Faust-Goudeau has previously said the legislation will aid shift workers at aircraft plants on the edge of Wichita who drive across the county for work.

“We have to change with the times,” Faust-Goudeau said previously. “We are such a fast-paced world now. If we want things to be different, we have to do things different. I think (this is) some of the best legislation coming out of our 2019 session that will help all Kansans.”

More than 1,100 voted at the wrong place in last year’s state election, meaning their ballots were only partially counted. Under the new law, their ballots will fully count.

The bill also requires county election officials to attempt to contact advance voters who cast a ballot without a signature or those whose signature doesn’t match the one on file.

Several hundred ballots were rejected statewide during the last election because they lacked signatures, according to Bryan Caskey, state director of elections.

Contributing: Dion Lefler of The Eagle

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Jonathan Shorman covers Kansas politics and the Legislature for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. He’s been covering politics for six years, first in Missouri and now in Kansas. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.


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