Elections

You can go vote now in election to replace Pompeo

Dalton Glasscock, a campaign aide to congressional candidate Ron Estes, feeds his ballot into the new counting machine at the election commissioner’s office. (March 27, 2017)
Dalton Glasscock, a campaign aide to congressional candidate Ron Estes, feeds his ballot into the new counting machine at the election commissioner’s office. (March 27, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

Advance voting in the special election for a new congressman got off to a slow start but picked up later at the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse on Monday.

Monday also marked the county’s return to paper ballots, which may assuage concerns that have been expressed the past few years over possible vote tampering.

When the polls at the old courthouse downtown opened at 8 a.m., only one voter was in line. It was about 25 minutes before the next one showed up. As of 8:40 a.m., eight ballots had been cast: three ordinary voters, three election workers, one campaign aide and one news reporter.

But Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said it got somewhat busier in the afternoon, and slightly more than 200 voters were expected to have cast ballots by the end of the day.

The election is the first substantial tryout for new voting machines in the county.

Unlike the old machines that posted the votes electronically, the new machines print out a paper ballot that the voter has to insert into a separate counting machine.

Unlike the old machines that posted the votes electronically, the new machines print out a paper ballot that the voter has to insert into a separate counting machine.

The election office site in the old courthouse is the first and only polling place open so far for the 4th Congressional District election among Republican Ron Estes, Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold. The candidates are vying for the seat vacated when Mike Pompeo resigned from Congress to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Trump administration.

First in line to vote Monday was Beech Aircraft retiree Richard White, 77, of Bel Aire.

“It’s something I’ve always done,” White said. “It gives me an opportunity to complain and feel like I’m justified, having voted.”

Although he voted alone, he said he thinks things will pick up closer to the election.

“They’re just kind of getting started,” he said. “They’ve got the signs out, so I think there will be more (voters).”

Another who voted early Monday was Dalton Glasscock, a Wichita State University student and a campaign aide to Estes.

He said he likes the new voting machines. In previous elections, he exercised the option of voting on a written paper ballot to guard against computer glitches.

He said he’s not worried about that now that the machine prints a paper ballot that the voter can review to make sure all the choices are as intended.

“It was very simple to do,” he said.

Lehman said another feature of the new machines is that each race will have its own screen.

That should cut down on voters accidentally skipping races, as they sometimes did on the old machines, Lehman said.

It’s not a feature that’s in play in this election, because there’s only one race on the ballot.

When, where to vote early

The actual election day is scheduled for April 11.

But Monday through Friday this week and next week, you can vote early at the Historic Courthouse at 510 N. Main. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for the next two weeks and from 8 a.m. to noon on April 10.

Advance voting at neighborhood satellite voting sites begins April 6.

All satellite sites will be open noon to 7 p.m. April 6 and 7 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 8, except the Wichita Machinists Hall, which will be closed for voting April 8 because of a conflict with a union meeting that day.

Any resident of Sedgwick County can vote at any advance voting site, regardless of where in the county they live.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

Sites for satellite voting

These sites will be open noon to 7 p.m. April 6 and 7 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 8, except the Wichita Machinists Hall, which will be closed for voting April 8.

In Wichita

▪ Greenwich Road Church of Christ, 1746 S. Greenwich

▪ Independent Living Center, 3033 W. Second St.

▪ Machinists Building, 3830 S. Meridian

▪ Grace Presbyterian Church, 5002 E. Douglas

▪ Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 2727 E. 25th St. North

▪ Reformation Lutheran Church, 7601 E. 13th St.

▪ Sedgwick County Extension Office, 7001 W. 21st St.

▪ Sharon Baptist Church, 2221 S. Oliver

▪ St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 2555 Hyacinth Lane

▪ Westlink Church of Christ, 10025 W. Central

Other cities

▪ Bel Aire City Building, 7651 E. Central Park, Bel Aire

▪ Goddard Pathway Church, 18800 W. Kellogg Drive, Goddard

▪ Haysville Community Library, 210 Hays Ave., Haysville

▪ Valley Center Christian Church, 1801 E. Fifth St., Valley Center

▪ Woodlawn Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn, Derby

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

  Comments