Voters in Sedgwick and 16 other Kansas counties will go to the polls on Tuesday in a special election to fill the open 4th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here’s what you need to know to have a smooth Election Day.
Wait, we just had an election for Congress. Why are we doing this again?
In November, Kansas’ 4th District voters elected Republican Mike Pompeo to his fourth term as their congressman. About two weeks later, the newly elected President Trump, also a Republican, picked Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
Pompeo took the job and resigned his seat in Congress on Jan. 23 after the Senate confirmed his appointment to the CIA. That leaves the seat vacant, so Gov. Sam Brownback scheduled a special election to replace Pompeo for April 11.
Yes, but why do I have to vote again?
Blame the Founding Fathers. When they set up the government, they envisioned the House of Representatives as being “the people’s house” of Congress. So only the people can fill a vacancy there.
I don’t remember having to do this before.
Unless you’re at least 88, you haven’t.
This is the first congressional special election in Kansas since 1950, when state highway commissioner Myron V. George beat lawyer Barnes Griffith in a special election to replace Rep. Herbert A. Meyer, who died in office.
OK, so what are my choices?
You’ve got three: Republican Ron Estes, Democrat James Thompson or Libertarian Chris Rockhold.
Where can I find out about the candidates?
The Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com have profiled all three candidates, and you can find those articles online at:
You also will find other coverage of the race on the election page at Kansas.com.
Who can vote in this election?
Every eligible voter in the 4th District. That includes 16 full counties and part of one in south-central Kansas.
The full counties are Barber, Butler, Chautauqua, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Elk, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Kiowa, Pratt, Sedgwick, Stafford and Sumner.
Part of southwest Pawnee County is also in the 4th District. A good rule of thumb there is if Pompeo was on your ballot in November, you’re eligible to vote in this election.
If you don’t remember that, you can call the Pawnee County clerk’s office at 620-285-3721. They can check your registration to see whether you should be voting in this election and tell you where your polling place is.
Do I vote in the same place I did in November?
Generally, yes, although there are a few changes because some sites weren’t available Tuesday. Here are the polling places that have been moved for this election only. The sites are in Wichita unless otherwise noted.
▪ Maranatha Worship Center polling site has moved to Woodland Lakes Community Church, 770 S. Greenwich Road.
▪ The Mount at Catholic Charities polling site has moved to All Saints Catholic Church, 3205 E. Grand.
▪ Congregation Emanu-El polling site has moved to Edgemoor Recreation Center, 5815 E. Ninth St.
▪ First Mennonite Brethren Church polling site has moved to Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 7901 W. 21st St.
▪ Church of the Magdalen polling site has moved to Holiday Inn Northeast, 2340 N. Greenwich Road.
▪ Central Community Church polling site has moved to three sites, depending on which precinct you live in: Glen Park Christian Church, 2757 S. Glen (Precinct 404 voters); Westwood Presbyterian Church, 8007 W. Maple (Precinct 504 voters); Olivet Baptist Church, 3440 W. 13th St. (Precinct 616 voters).
▪ First Christian Church, Sedgwick, polling site has moved to Valley Center Christian Church, 1801 E. Fifth St., Valley Center.
▪ Haysville Activity Center polling site has moved to Studio at Illusions Productions, 1939 E. Dietrich, Haysville.
▪ Maize City Building polling site has moved to Ark Church, 5501 N. Maize Road, Maize.
Can I just look up my polling place?
In Sedgwick County, there’s an app for that. Actually, two apps.
You can access either one from the election office home page at http://sedgwickcounty.org/elections.
You can click the “Where do I vote” link in the upper left part of the page or the “Check my polling location” link under “Important Updates” in the middle of the web page. Pro tip: If you use the “Check my polling location” app, you need to click on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner to get to the form to fill in your address.
I’m not really a computer person.
You can call the election office in Sedgwick County at 316-660-7100 and they’ll tell you where to vote.
Sedgwick County is the only county in the 4th District that has a separate election office. In other counties, call your county clerk.
Dang. I went to the wrong polling place. What do I do now?
You have two choices. You can go to the correct polling place, or, if you’re at any polling place anywhere in your home county, you can ask for a provisional ballot (they must give you one).
State law requires that your provisional vote be counted in any races you’re eligible to vote on.
In Tuesday’s election, there’s only one race on the ballot, and every voter in the congressional district is eligible to vote in it.
Election officials prefer you vote at the correct polling place because provisional ballots are an administrative headache. But if it’s a choice between voting provisional or not voting, do what you gotta do.
When are the polls open?
Polls in Sedgwick County open at 6 a.m. Tuesday, and polls elsewhere open at 7 a.m. They stay open until the last person in line at 7 p.m. gets to vote.
What do I need to bring?
A state-issued photo ID. A driver’s license or nondriver Department of Motor Vehicles identification card from any state will suffice.
Also accepted: U.S. passports, military and public-employee ID badges, tribal ID, public-assistance ID, college and university student ID, concealed-carry gun licenses issued by any state.
The ID doesn’t have to have an expiration date. But if it does, in most cases, it has to be unexpired at the time of voting. Only voters 65 or older can use expired ID.
I hear we’ve got new voting machines in Sedgwick County.
Not to worry. You still make your selections using an electronic touch screen.
The only significant difference between the old and new voting machines is that the new ones print out your ballot, which you can then review and feed into a nearby counting machine. If you find you need assistance, ask a poll worker for help.
What’s the turnout supposed to be like?
Election officials are predicting a light turnout because there’s only one race on the ballot and the timing is out-of-cycle. Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said she’ll be thrilled if turnout tops 20 percent.
How do I find out who won?
Kansas.com will be updating results as they are reported by election officials throughout election night.