Douglas County voters break turnout record; more ballots likely to be counted

photo by: Associated Press

A Kansas advance mail-in ballot is seen Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Douglas County voters came out in record numbers in Tuesday’s election.

According to results provided by the Douglas County Clerk’s Office, more than 56,000 ballots have been cast by local voters so far, for a turnout of about 68.4%. Additionally, more votes are expected to be counted, as mail ballots postmarked by Tuesday can be counted if the clerk’s office receives them by Friday.

The clerk’s office said in a social media post last week that Douglas County’s record turnout was 54,500 ballots cast in the 2008 election, when Democrat Barack Obama was first elected president.

Twelve years later Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, was on the ballot for the presidency in a bid to unseat incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. Most county voters came out to support Biden, as he earned 68% of the county’s vote, despite losing Kansas as a whole.

County Clerk Jamie Shew told the Journal-World in October that his office saw a large increase in voter registrations this year. According to results published Tuesday, the county had 82,390 registered voters for the general election.

“A presidential year election always has a larger than normal increase in registrations and that is what we have experienced this year,” Shew said at the time.

But the record turnout was likely also helped by a massive increase of votes cast by mail. The clerk’s office said in another social media post it had mailed out a record number of advance mail ballots. In total, almost 32,000 ballots were mailed out, and more than 27,000 were returned by Monday, the office said.

In August, county voters also broke the voter turnout for a primary election as 37% of registered voters cast a ballot.

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