Advance voting for the Aug. 3 primary began Wednesday, and Douglas County elections officials said even though the first day was relatively slow, they expect things to pick up.
“Especially with an August election and vacations, it’s about a week before school starts,” Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said. “We know a lot of people are out of town. Advance voting is really big because people can get it out of the way before they go somewhere else and beat the heat.”
Shew’s office began mailing out hundreds of requested advance ballots Wednesday, and 15 people came to vote in the rotunda of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.
Voters will decide nominees for several statewide and congressional races in each major party, and local precinct committee positions are up for grabs.
August primary turnout has been low in Douglas County in recent years. Shew said the county typically struggles because so many college students registered to vote are not back in town. The county had only 13 percent turnout in the 2006 primary and 14 percent turnout in 2008.
“There’s a lot more contested primary races than there have been in the past,” Shew said. “I think that’s going to help the turnout, but it’s always kind of hard to see.”
Other important information about advanced voting and the primary:
• Monday is the deadline to register to be able to participate. The clerk’s office will stay open to 7 p.m. Monday. Mailed registration forms will be accepted if they are postmarked by Monday.
• July 30 is the final day to request an advance ballot. Visit douglascountyelections.com to get an application or call the clerk’s office at 832-5182.
• In-person advance voting is available at the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clerk’s office will also open up the courthouse and satellite sites in Lecompton, Eudora and Baldwin City on July 31, the Saturday before the election.
• Voters affiliated with a political party who want to participate in another party’s primary must change their affiliation by Monday. But independent voters can change their affiliation on Election Day. Independent voters can also participate in the Democratic primary without changing their affiliation, Shew said.