WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansans are making their voices heard on the ballot Tuesday regarding the “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment on abortion.
Kansas is the first state in the nation to test voter feelings about the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The Kansas measure is a response to a state Supreme Court decision in 2019 declaring that access to abortion is a matter of bodily autonomy and a “fundamental” right under the state’s Bill of Rights.
Supporters of the measure haven’t said whether they will pursue a ban if voters approve the measure, but that is what opponents predict will happen.
In Wichita, polls opened at 6 a.m., and people were already lined up to cast their votes. KSN News was able to speak to several casting their vote throughout the day.
“You know many people sometimes think that when, well, it is only one vote, but each vote does add up, and we have got some important things on that ballot that need to be addressed, so I wanted to be part of that,” Sue Elmer, Wichita voter, said.
“Everybody complains. Your vote is what counts. You can’t complain if you don’t vote,” James C. Wheeler, Wichita voter, said. “It is very important on this amendment thing.”
“Believe it or not, when I walked into the door, I was kinda shocked. I said, oh my goodness, it’s a lot, you know. It is a long line, but they assured us that the line was going quick,” Kevin Brooks, Derby voter, said.
Gallery and Video: Election Day in Wichita
Angela Caudillo, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner, said 33,000 people took advantage of early in-person voting. She said the busiest times are when the polls open, around noon and after 5 p.m. At 11 a.m., she reported that 30,500 have voted today so far.
“It is exciting to see everyone out voting,” Caudillo said. “There is a lot of people out there who are interested in the process and getting involved.”
Caudillo said there have been some complaints in regards to signs or materials near polling locations.
“We have had to report that we have seen that advocacy materials at a couple of locations. Each time we contacted the supervising judge, by the time I contacted the issue, they were aware of the issue and made sure they had been removed.”
She also added that if voters go to the wrong poll, they will not be turned away.
“If a voter does come to a different polling location, they will give them the opportunity to go to their polling location, but if they do not want to go to their location, they will be given a provisional ballot. No one will be turned away.”
The Westview Baptist Church polling location had a few machines go down, but the county sent workers, and they are now up and running.
Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said you should allow plenty of time in case of lines.
“We are allowing for an hour, I think it will take 15 minutes at the most, but we are planning for an hour, so just give yourself margin,” Schwab said.
Temperatures in the state are expected to reach over 100 degrees in several locations. So if you have to wait outside at a polling place, make sure you bring water to stay hydrated.
To find your polling place in Kansas, click here. You must bring your photo identification to the polls. Polls in Kansas close at 7 p.m. local time.