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Polls close in Lawrence, Kansas candidates await election results
7 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews Polls in Kansas are now closed! Head on over to our election results blog post for the latest information.
6:18 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Time for another round of poll checks from the Douglas County clerk's office. As of 5 p.m., 18,540 people have voted in Douglas County. These five precincts have had the most voters:
- Langston Hughes Elementary School, 1101 George Williams Way: 685
- Free State High School, 4700 Overland Dr: 649
- Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Dr: 597
- Brandon Woods, Smith Center, 1501 Inverness Dr: 520
- Pioneer Ridge Assisted Living, 4851 Harvard Rd
5:30 p.m. update by Mark Fagan
Alesia Woszidlo checks in as voter No. 377 at Southside Church of Christ, my base of operations for Kids Voting -- we're up to 30 kids overall today, of which 29 have come during the past 2 1/2 hours.
Woszidlo says she turned out for the official voting for two reasons: 1) to vote on the library question, and 2) to vote for governor.
She chose not to cast any votes — for or against — regarding judges up for retention. In her mind, an uninformed vote is an improper vote.
"I didn't vote if I didn't know them," she said.
4 p.m. update by Mark Fagan
Sally Spurgeon doesn't get an official say in who serves as the next Kansas governor, or who will be the state's top law-enforcement officer, or even if the Lawrence Public Library should expand.
But she's voting — unofficially, anyway — through Kids Voting Douglas County.
"I know I'm not registered, but I feel — as an American citizen or whatever — I need to exercise the right I have," said Sally, a sophomore at Lawrence High School, who cast her unofficial votes at Southside Church of Christ. "We're supposed to be a democracy. If we're not exercising our right to vote, that's pretty sad."
Sally should be happy. Plenty of her fellow students in Lawrence public schools are crowding into the Kids Voting room here at the church: 14 during he past hour.
3:35 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Voter turnout totals (based on our informal poll checks) are much higher in some precincts compared to the primary elections in August.
- As of about 2:30 p.m., 480 people had voted in precinct No. 18 at Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Dr. In the primary, 277 people voted in that same precinct throughout the entire day.
- The same is true for the East Lawrence Center, 1245 E 15th St. In the primary, only 89 total voters cast ballots. This time around, the same location saw at least 160 voters by 1:30 p.m.
- Another example comes from precinct No. 49 (Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001 Bob Billings Pkwy). In the primary, 197 Republicans and Democrats voted. As of 3:30 p.m. today (according to tweeter @AmyJSand), precinct No. 49 has seen 303 voters.
More poll checks:
- LJWorld.com web producer Brenna Hawley (@bhawley) reported via Twitter that there have been 355 voters at Southwest Junior High as of about 3:30 p.m.
- LJWorld.com features writer Christy Little (@christylit) was the 134th voter at Schwegler Elementary School, 2201 Ousdahl Rd. at 3:50 p.m.
- Daniel Gillaspy (@Daniel07) was the 170th voter at Southside Church Of Christ, 1105 W 25th St, (and he got a free band-aid!) just before 4 p.m.
- LJWorld.com web producer Becky Wilson was voter No. 218 at the Lawrence City Library, 707 Vermont St, at 4:15 p.m.
3:15 p.m. update by Mark Fagan
Turnout is considered encouraging at Southside Church of Christ, 1105 W. 25th St., at the corner of 25th and Missouri streets in Lawrence.
Just before 3 p.m., 277 voters had cast their ballots in person so far today, and the voting booths were filled with folks choosing who should be the next governor, secretary of state, attorney general and on down the line.
The precinct has 1,147 registered voters, so officials figured today's turnout at "close to to 25 percent." A quick check with the calculator put the number at 24.15 percent.
"And there's been a lot of advance voting," one of the poll workers said, noting that those numbers had not been included yet in today's turnout total. "I was surprised."
3:05 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Have you voted yet? Take our poll and let us know.
Below: Aaron Chavers, 25, talks about our freedom to vote while casting his ballot at Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Massachusetts St.
2:31 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Polls close in four and a half hours, so there is still time to go cast your ballot. WellCommons.com reporter Karrey Britt reported via Twitter (@karreyLbritt) that as of about 2:10 p.m. 194 people had voted at Babcock Place, 1700 Massachusetts St., and she was voter No. 480 at Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Dr.
LJWorld.com reporter George Diepenbrock (@gdiepenbrock) said 183 people had voted at Hillcrest School by 2 p.m.
You can find your polling place using the Google Maps application on our elections page.
Across the state, voters shared their opinions on today's election with the Associated Press:
"I voted straight Democrat in protest to the tone and the tactics," said Ralph Hoover, a 70-year-old retired probation officer and social worker in Topeka, who said he was turned off by "the negative, mean-spirited mood of politics," particularly from Republicans.
"I think people are upset," said Jay Junghans, a 49-year-old Republican who is a police officer in Topeka. "We need some different folks running the game." He cited federal spending and the new health care law as issues upsetting people.
"They're trying to make their way. The Republicans are barring their way towards progress." Marcia Kelly, a 60-year-old Topeka real estate agent who traditionally votes Republican. She said she found the idea of Republicans holding all state and congressional offices depressing and voted a straight Democratic ticket.
"Jerry's been around for a long time, so you see what he's saying, and his town halls, they've been around for a long time. I can't say much for the other side," said Michelle Hoferer, a 51-year-old Topeka resident, who said she's worried about how the new health care law will affect small businesses like hers. "I know that it's causing several small businesses to say, 'Forget it,' and close their doors."
"I realize we've spent a lot of money, but I think it would have been a lot worse had we not spent it." Charles Hoag, 78, a retired University of Kansas professor and self-described "Yellow Dog" Democrat. "I believe in government and a large part of the population needs a big government."
"My purpose is to do everything I can to keep Republicans out of office," said Mary Brooks, 52, a freelance book indexer in Lawrence. "Why would we put the same people back in office we've just voted out? It's going to take time to get out of this mess."
1:50 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Did you vote in advance by mail? Nearly 7,200 Douglas County residents requested ballots to do just that.
According to numbers from the Douglas County clerk's office, residents in precinct No. 5 (Deerfield Elementary School, 101 Lawrence Ave.) requested the most advance mail ballots with 384. Here are the top five precincts that requested advance mail ballots:
- Deerfield Elementary School
- Langston Hughes Elementary School, 1101 George Williams Way: 325
- First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway: 243
- First Southern Baptist Church, 4300 W 6th St: 218
- Brandon Woods, Smith Center, 1501 Inverness Dr: 206
And some poll checks:
- Lawrence.com graphic designer Patrick Giroux said he was voter No. 205 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 New Hampshire St, at 12:50 p.m.
- Heather Braum (@hbraum) reported via Twitter at 1 p.m. that over 400 votes had been cast at Free State High School, 4700 Overland Dr.
- LJWorld.com web producer Joe Preiner said as of 1:15 p.m. 65 people had voted at the Burge Union, KU Campus, 1601 Irving Hill Rd, and First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway, had 321 voters as of 1:40 p.m.
- 6News producer Lindsey Slater was the 255th voter at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001 Bob Billings Pkwy, at 1:35 p.m.
- (@TriSigmaKS) was voter No. 161 at the East Lawrence Center, 1245 E 15th St, and she also unlocked the "I Voted 2010" badge on Foursquare. If you check in at your polling place with the hashtag #ivoted, you can unlock the badge, too.
- Rick (@rickuvm) was the 224th voter at Southside Church Of Christ, 1105 W 25th St., at 1:40 p.m.
If you're on Twitter, tag your poll checks with #lawrencevote and we'll get them posted!
12:55 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Wearing your "I voted" sticker? Send us your pic and we'll post it here. The one below is from Tanya Lorenzo, submitted via her Twitter account @tjlorenzo. We'll post your photos in our election day gallery, too.
12:21 p.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Kansas election officials are saying that voter turnout may be heavier than they expected.
Due to a high number of advance ballots, voter turnout could hit or exceed 50 percent — higher than the 48 percent originally predicted by Kansas Secretary of State Chris Biggs.
Meanwhile in Lawrence: Nicole, @nicmichele on Twitter, reports that she was voter No. 133 at the East Lawrence Center, 1245 E 15th St., about 12:10 p.m.
LJWorld.com reporter Chad Lawhorn (@clawhorn_ljw) did some poll checks, too. Eudora Township Fire Station (South Eudora), 310 E 20th St., had 216 voters as of 11 a.m. Kennedy Elementary School, 1605 Davis Road, had 163 at 11:15 a.m. and New York Elementary School, 936 New York St., had seen 94 voters by 11:30 a.m.
11:57 a.m. update by Whitney Mathews
As of 10:30 a.m. 8,764 voters have cast ballots in Douglas County. According to data from the Douglas County clerk's office, here are the precincts with the highest turnout so far:
- Langston Hughes Elementary School, 1101 George Williams Way: 332
- Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Dr.: 300
- Free State High School, 4700 Overland Dr.: 287
- Deerfield Elementary School, 101 Lawrence Ave.: 254
- American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth St.: 235
11:42 a.m. update by Mark Fagan
Two dozen officials from U.S. embassies — in countries from Argentina to Vietnam, with Egypt, Moldova, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam and others in between — visited Hillcrest to observe Kids Voting activities as part of a visit organized by the International Visitors Council of Greater Kansas City.
The visitors later heard from Diana Carlin, a Lawrence resident and KU professor who is chairwoman of Kids Voting USA, a program that has about three dozen chapters in 17 states, all to encourage youngsters to cast unofficial ballots and learn the process before they reach the legal voting age of 18.
Over at Pinckney Elementary School, 810 W 6th St., @kail_panille reports on Twitter that 104 people had voted as of 11:30 a.m.
11:18 a.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Voters were ready to cast ballots when polls opened up at 7 a.m. Below are photos from the Lawrence Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St. View the election day photo gallery.
Wayne Klick, @wayneklick on Twitter, told us he was voter No. 81 at the USD 497 Administration Center, 110 Mcdonald Dr., about 11:20 a.m.
If you need to find your polling location, go to our elections page and put your address in the Google Maps application. It will tell you where you need to go.
10:35 a.m. update by Whitney Mathews
Former New York School teacher Carolyn Landgrebe discusses why this election is important to her. Landgrebe voted Tuesday morning at Hillcrest School.
Also, Katie, @comma_police on Twitter, reported her polling station at West Junior High School, 2700 Harvard Rd, had about 80 voters by 10:30 a.m.
10:08 a.m. update by Whitney Mathews
9:56 a.m. update by Whitney Mathews
LJWorld.com opinion editor Ann Gardner reports that the polling station at Pioneer Ridge, 4851 Harvard Rd, was packed this morning:
"All the voting stations were full at Pioneer Ridge at about 9 a.m. Because of a counter malfunction, poll workers didn't know exactly how many ballots had been cast, but they guessed it was at least 150. A poll watcher estimated it was even more than that. Both said it was considerably busier than for the presidential election two years ago."
9:07 a.m. update by Whitney Mathews
According to Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew, in-person advance voting for this election outpaced the 2006 midterms.
In-person voting ended Monday at noon with 2,627 people casting ballots in person. The clerk's office has mailed out 4,572 advance ballots and had received 2,528 back by Monday afternoon.
The clerk's office also offered some tips for Douglas County voters. Read them here.
8:30 a.m. update by Becky Wilson
Do you know Jamie Shew? He's the man behind elections in Douglas County. As Douglas County clerk, one of his favorite things to do is help first-time voters through the election process.
“It’s easy for us to become complacent about voting and forget people in some countries face death and walk hundreds of miles for the privilege of voting,” he says. “I don’t ever want to become complacent. If Wednesday’s headlines are focused on results and not the voting process, I’ll feel we’ve done a good job.”
LJWorld.com reporter Eileen Roddy profiled Shew on Monday. Read more about him here.
8:25 a.m. update by Mark FaganWillow Springs — Out here in rural Douglas County, apparently folks don't like to waste any time.
The precinct at the Willow Springs Township Hall, 303 E. 1100 Road, was SSRO — that's Standing and Sitting Room Only — before the polling place opened at 7 a.m. today.
The line didn't let up until 7:30 a.m. or so, as voters spilled into the garage where the township's fire trucks wait to respond to emergencies. Bruce W. Johanning was among the first to fill in his ballot using the hood of the Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel.
"I've voted my whole life," said Johanning, a retired Army captain, donning a fatigues jacket. "I even voted from a foxhole — by absentee, of course."
That was 30 years ago, from the DMZ in Korea.
By 8:25 a.m., the crowd had thinned, but voting was still active — more than 90 voters already had weighed in on the day's elections, well ahead of even the pace from the presidential election of two years ago.
8 a.m. update by Becky Wilson
Polls have been open for an hour now, and we're hearing there's been decent turnout so far at some polling sites. As of 7:50 a.m., 61 voters had already cast their ballots at the Union Pacific Depot site, according to LJWorld photographer Nick Krug.
Approximately 820,000, or 47.5 percent, of registered voters are expected to cast ballots in Kansas. In LJWorld.com reporter Chad Lawhorn's Town Talk post from Monday, he shared new numbers showing how Douglas County voters align themselves:
- Democrat: 27,830
- Republican: 23,202
- Libertarian: 701
- Reform: 72
- Unaffiliated: 28,015
Douglas County has a total of 79,820 registered voters and 95,466 people who are 18 years are older.
7:30 a.m. update by Becky Wilson
If you're on Twitter, make sure you tag your tweets with the #lawrencevote hashtag. Tweet us any pics, election stories or poll checks and your tweets will show up on the widget on the right side of the page.
To tweet us a poll check, include the following info:
- Poll location
- Time of day
- How many people have voted at that location
Welcome to the LJWorld.com election coverage blog. We'll be updating this post throughout the day Tuesday with photos, videos and bits of information about today's elections.
To start, make sure you visit our elections section where you can:
- Find your polling location
- Read live chat transcripts
- Vote in straw polls
- Read news on candidates, races and ballot measures
Once results start coming in Tuesday evening, we'll be giving you live results on our complete list of races.