WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — As the polls begin to close on election night, several polling locations worked overtime for Wichitans waiting to vote.
The polls closed at 7 p.m., but those in line before 7 p.m. were still eligible to vote. Officials say a lack of staffing, as well as technical problems, caused the delays.
Those included residents who went to the Linwood Recreation Center. It sparked a plea from local leaders.
“If you are a trained Sedgwick County poll worker, you are needed ASAP at Linwood Rec. Center! People have been in line for three hours waiting to vote,” City Councilmember Brandon Johnson said in a tweet.
The final people to cast their ballot left the polling location around 9:45 p.m. KSN News spoke to several who waited.
“I’m impressed by everyone that’s here,” Alicia Wolgamuth, a Wichita voter, said. “By getting their vote in, whichever way it is. They are standing up for what they believe in, and I’m doing the same.”
“I got here pretty late, and I had to cause I got off of work at 5 (p.m.), and I went with my friends to another voting location to be with them. Then, we came here,” George Kliewer, a Wichita voter, said. “I walked in, and I saw the line. I thought the line started at the door, and they directed me to where the line really was, and it kind of sunk in. I’m going to be here awhile.”
Pizza and water were provided to people waiting.
“I wasn’t expecting to wait that long. I had plans and stuff, so that’s kind of not happening now. I knew I wanted to stay. I wanted to vote, fight for my rights,” Jackie Donaldson, a Wichita voter, said.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse says the county will be looking at ways to make sure long lines won’t be a problem for the next election.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Angela Caudillo talked about the issues faced Tuesday night, including poll workers at the Maize Recreation Center who made the wrong decision in telling voters who arrived and were in line before 7 p.m. that they would need to go to another location to vote.
“This was an inappropriate decision made by the election workers,” said Caudillo. “This was immediately addressed with those workers.”
The commissioner told KSN News that if individuals showed up, they would be allowed to vote provisionally.
“We got a process in place to verify who those voters were so we can work to address those votes appropriately.”
Watch the full interview with the commissioner from Tuesday night below.