Changes you can expect at the polls because of coronavirus

Your Local Election HQ

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There are a few changes you can expect when heading to the polls as well as with the results process.

“I thought about it a lot, but it didn’t scare me away from doing it,” said John Jones, voter.

Shields on poll workers, gloves and take-home stylists to vote with are just a few changes you’ll see when heading to the polls today.

“[Workers] sit behind a plexiglass sneeze guard, so instead of handing the ID to the polling worker, they’ll hold it up to the plexiglass,” said Melissa Schnieders, Sedgwick County deputy election commissioner. “They’ll be checked in, and they’ll be given a take-home stylist to sign the poll book with.”

Voting machines are also set up differently to provide social distancing for voters, and a company will go to every site on election day to sanitize high touchpoints. You will also be required to social distance when waiting to vote.

For voters who were not able to renew their license during the pandemic, you can still show up to cast your ballot.

“If it expired during that time frame of sometime in March to currently, we will accept that expired license,” said Schnieders. “We know folks have not been able to go in and get it updated.”

Some voters said with the county’s plans in place, they felt safe while voting early.

“I was so impressed,” said Mary Ware, voter. “The shields, the plexi-shield in front and the shields they’re wearing, gloves, disposable pens to sign and write with. They have thought of everything!”

Election commission officials said they haven’t seen any issues just yet, but have multiple plans in place for extra equipment and PPE if needed.

Polling locations will provide masks for those who forget theirs or don’t have one.

As the results start flooding in on Tuesday, you can expect election updates several times this week.

“We will be reporting results Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday because we can take mail as late as Thursday as long as it has a postmark date by the fourth at 7 p.m.,” said Schnieders.

Schnieders said you still have your mail-in ballot, you can turn it in at any polling location or have the postage stamp marked at the post office for Aug. 4 or sooner. You can also drop your mail-in ballot outside the election office on the side closest to Central Ave. There will be a dropbox for those who do not want to go inside of polling locations.

For those who received two mail-in ballots for whatever reason, only vote on one of them.

For a full list and bios of the candidates, click here.

For more information about voting in Sedgwick County, click here.

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