Joseph Mastrosimone didn’t have to wait in line when he cast his ballot Monday, but two people quickly formed a short line behind him at the counter of the Douglas County Clerk’s Office.
The Lawrence man was one of five county residents who cast in-person advance ballots in a five-minute span starting at 1 p.m. Monday. Heather Dill, deputy elections clerk of the Douglas County Clerk’s Office, said the office on the first floor of the Douglas County Courthouse was pleased with the early turnout for the city government and school board elections being contested in Lawrence, Baldwin City, Eudora and Lecompton.
In addition, Lawrence voters will decide the fates of a 0.2 percent public transit sales tax, a 0.3 percent infrastructure sales tax and a 0.05 affordable housing sales tax.
“We’ve been steady,” she said. “Currently, we’ve had more than 500 people vote in person.”
And far more mail-in advance ballots are waiting to be counted, Dill said. As of Monday, more than 2,000 mail-in advance ballots had been returned.
Dill is expecting more because the clerk’s office has mailed 5,300 advance ballots to date, she said. Monday was the deadline to request an application for an advance ballot.
In an Oct. 18 interview with the Journal-World, Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said the clerk’s office spent $27,000 to mail out advance ballot applications to county voters for the current election cycle. It was the first time the office had done that for city and school board elections, he said.
To further increase voter convenience, the clerk’s office will offer in-person advance voting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., the Baldwin City Fire Station, 610 High St., Eudora City Hall, 4 E. Seventh St., and Lecompton City Hall, 327 Elmore St. In-person advance voting will end at noon Monday, Nov. 6, at the Douglas County Courthouse, Dill said.
Advance ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day, Nov. 7; all those arriving at the clerk’s office before Friday, Nov. 10, will be counted, Dill said. Mail-in ballots can also be dropped off at the clerk’s office or at any Douglas County polling site on Election Day.
With the large number of advance ballots requested this election cycle, there could be races undecided until all the ballots are counted Nov. 10, Dill said.
“It will be interesting to see,” she said.
In an effort to boost turnout, Lawrence Transit will offer customers free rides on Election Day. Voters can find their polling sites online by visiting douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/polling-places.