Standardizing Poll Access
Weekend and evening early voting hours significantly boost voter turnout.
We should make them the standard in Kansas.
THE PROBLEM FOR KANSAS DEMOCRACY
Right now by Kansas law, early in-person voting may begin up to 20 days before Election Day, but county clerks and election officers have large discretion over the implementation of how many hours and when in-person early voting is offered. This means that citizens’ access to the voting box can vary dramatically across county lines.
There is a clear correlation between the availability of open polls, a citizen’s ability to vote, and voter turnout.
It’s time for the Kansas Legislature to fix this and make sure that citizens’ access to democracy doesn’t depend on their zip code.
Citizens’ access to the voting box can vary dramatically across county lines.
PARTICIPATING IN DEMOCRACY IS NOT A 9-TO-5 JOB
In the 2018 general election, only 28 of 105 counties gave voters a Saturday opportunity. Only 23 counties offered weekday early voting at times outside of normal business hours.
To truly strengthen democracy for every voter in Kansas, the state legislature should pass a bill standardizing early voting access. This bill should require that in-person early voting begins a minimum of 10 days before every election—and should also include at least one weekday with evening hours from 5 to 8 p.m. and one Saturday with at least 4 hours of voting.
WHY STANDARDIZE IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING?
Voting hours should be convenient and accessible to citizens who have jobs and family responsibilities or who have to travel distances to access the polls.
More citizens participating in in-person early voting can result in shorter lines on Election Day, making voting more accessible overall.
Your right to vote and when or how you cast your ballot shouldn’t vary simply because you move a mile away into a different county. The voting process should be as clear and consistent as possible for citizens no matter where in the state they choose to live.
Time and time again, it’s been proven that when citizens have more opportunities to participate in democracy, they do so at a higher rate. Our democracy is stronger when we give people every chance to have their voices heard.