KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Because of the pandemic, more Kansans than ever are expected to be voting by mail this coming election.
But for those worried about the process, the state is offering something new. Voters can track the progress of their vote online.
Advance voting by mail is nothing new for Kansas voters; they’ve been doing it since 1996. Nor do voters need an excuse to receive a vote-by-mail ballot.
However, they do need to apply for it for each election, as a vote-by-mail ballot is only sent out at the request of the voter.
To vote by mail in the Nov. 3 election, you must first: be registered to vote by Oct. 13, request an advance ballot by Oct. 27, then return the mail-in ballot by Nov. 3.
These can all be done with instructions from the website of the Secretary of State — sos.ks.gov — which walks a visitor through each step.
Tracking your vote
After registering for the election, you can track the journey of your vote by again going to the Secretary of State’s website — sos.ks.gov — then clicking on the icon for “Elections,” then on the symbol for “Ballot Tracker” at the bottom of the page.
This will take you to “VoterView” at: myvoteinfo.voteks.org. It will ask for some basic information in two stages, then will take you to the tracker itself. (See above photo.)
The tracker will register when your ballot is sent out to you, when the election office receives it, and the status of your vote: It will turn green when the ballot is accepted. If there is a problem with the ballot, the election office will contact the voter by telephone.
And Kansas is not the only entity that is providing voters with an easy way to stay on top of their vote.
“I am aware of a few counties in Kansas that have county-specific ballot trackers,” said Katie Koupal, office spokesperson with the Secretary of State. “Douglas County is one of them. Kansas is a local control state, so counties have that ability to partner with vendors to provide that service on a more local level if they wish.”
So, voters in counties with county- specific ballot trackers can use both the service offered by their own county and Ballot Tracker through the Secretary of State.
To ensure that a mailed ballot doesn’t get lost or delayed in the mail, voters can also always hand-deliver their advance ballot to their local election office.
Furthermore, said Koupal, voters “can always contact their local election office if they have questions about the status of their application or if their ballot was returned and received at the local election office.”
The local election office workers are there to help. And by double-checking with them, voters can ensure that their ballot has reached the office in time and is eligible to be counted.
According to Kansas law, ballots may be counted prior to Election Day, and are typically the first votes reported out on election night. But final tabulation can not be completed until polls close on election day.
At sos.ks.gov, click on the icon labeled “Elections,” then the “Register to Vote” symbol. This will take you to the “Online Voter Registration Application” page. Follow all directions. The deadline to register to vote for the general election is Oct. 13.
Request an application for advance voting by mail
Again, on the “Elections” page, go down to the “Election Forms” symbol. Click on this symbol. Now select from the top two choices listed: either the English language or the Spanish language form called “Application for Advance Voting Ballot.” By clicking on the letters “AV1” you can download and print the appropriate form.
Follow all directions. Once you have filled out the form, mail it to your county election office. The mailing address and fax numbers of all the county election offices in the state are listed on page 2 of this form.
The deadline to apply for an advance vote by mail ballot for the general election is Oct. 27. Advance voting in person and by mail for the general election begins Oct. 14.
Voters may vote by mail prior to election day in Kansas. Ballots will be mailed to those who apply beginning Oct. 14 for the general election. All ballots must be postmarked on or before election day Nov. 3 and received by the county election office by the close of business on Nov. 6.