Voter confusion over two Ron Estes names on primary ballot for U.S. Congressional seat

Local

The Kansas primary election is less than a week away, but many voters have headed to the polls to cast their vote early.

However, there has been some confusion for some here in Sedgwick County over the Republican candidates for the 4th Congressional Seat.

The two candidates, incumbent Rep. Ron Estes and his opponent, Ron M. Estes.

“Oh, definitely, if I had no idea what was going on, I would be lost,” said Janelle Hoopes, a Wichita resident.

Lisa Wray looked over the ballot with the two candidates on it and said it was hard to differentiate between the two.

“So they could be different people, but I don’t know the difference of those two people,” said Wray.

Those kinds of questions have been coming into the Sedgwick County Election Office over the past week.

“We’ve also been getting questions from people who are coming into our office and voting early,” said Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner. “We have gotten some calls who requested a ballot by mail who were looking for clarification, most people think we made a mistake and listed somebody twice on the ballot,” added Lehman.

Lehman says they were well aware of the two Ron Estes candidates being on the ballot and even trained poll workers on how to be prepared for the questions that could arise.

However, by law, Lehman says there isn’t much they can do at the polling places to help voters distinguish between the two.

“Our election workers are trained to say they are two different people, but we cannot give you any information,” said Lehman. “Our concern is that anything the election workers say, even their vocal inflection could be interpreted as supporting one candidate or another and we can’t have that going on in the polling locations,” added Lehman.

Some voters say that’s why there needs to be more information on the ballot to show the difference between the two candidates.

“I don’t know if that would be clear enough for the general public, you might need some more distinguishing information, maybe, there,” said Wray.

Others, like Hoopes, say it’s just best to do your research, before you cast your vote.

“Well, you really should anyways, I mean if you are going to be an informed voter taking the effort to vote in the primary you ought to know something about the candidates before they arrive,” said Hoopes.

Lehman says when you head to a polling place, you are allowed to bring your phone in and use it to do any research before you cast your vote.

She says if you feel like you voted for the wrong candidate and need to make any changes after you’ve printed your ballot, you can let an election worker know.

Lehman says.hat election worker can void that ballot and issue you a new one. 

The primary election will take place on Tuesday, August 7th.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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