A state law allowing in-person advance voting at satellite locations would be a "great opportunity" for county residents to increase their access to the democratic process, Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew told a Kansas legislative committee this week.
Right now, the law only allows counties with 250,000 or more residents to offer in-person advance voting at satellite locations. Only Johnson and Sedgwick counties have populations that large.
"Under the current law, I can only offer advance voting here at the courthouse," Shew said after his appearance Thursday before the House Committee on Governmental Organization and Elections.
During his testimony Shew said in-person advance voting in 2004 surpassed the total number of advance votes - including mail-in votes - cast in 2000 in Douglas County. He thinks participation in advance voting will continue to increase.
Shew mentioned the Dec. 22 vote on Sunday liquor sales in Baldwin. He said it would be nice to have a satellite location in Baldwin to allow people to participate in advance, in-person voting there instead of having to drive to Lawrence.
"Under current law, citizens who live in or around Lawrence have additional access to voting that cannot be offered to other citizens in the county," he said.
A Saline County official also testified for the bill, as did officials from Sedgwick and Johnson counties and the Kansas Secretary of State's election office.