According to Douglas County officials, the new voter ID law passed its first big test: primary elections.
9,020, or 13 percent, of registered Douglas County voters, voted Tuesday, which is on par with the 2010 primary election voter turnout numbers.
It might be lower than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s prediction of 18 percent, but it was not the drop-off many had worried about.
Some believed that the new law, requiring voters to present photo IDs, might have suppressed turnout.
Douglas County election official Austin Turney said this was not the case.
“The ID part went very smoothly,” he said. Election workers reported plenty of grumbling about the new law but had few instances of people lacking an ID.
Both Shew and Turney agreed that those participating in this election were more involved and affiliated voters — ones who had likely read about the law and came prepared.
But that might not be the case come November.
“General election will be a whole different ballgame, I think,” Turney said.
Turney said many who vote in the general election are mainly concerned with voting in the presidential race and are less likely to be prepared.
Shew did say the election had a few small hitches. He said many residents at the Pioneer Ridge Nursing Home lacked photo IDs, but that Douglas County would be able to provide the residents with county-issued IDs to allow them to vote. Redistricting and the change of polling locations also caused confusion. But Shew said he had an extra election worker monitoring provisional ballots — those filled out without a photo ID or in the incorrect polling location — and the number of those did not appear to be abnormally high.