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GOTV, Voting

Mail Your FIRST Ballot

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

What this post title/heading means is, if you requested (or even think you might have requested) a mail-in ballot (VBM) for the General Election, VOTE THAT BALLOT. It is your FIRST Ballot, and it has been assigned to you in the voting system for tracking.

If you go to a polling location (either early or on election day) to try to vote in person on the machine, THEY WILL NOT LET YOU. They will have you vote a “provisional ballot” which is with pen and paper, takes longer to vote, AND won’t be voted until AFTER election day.

There has been a lot of confusion on this, and there were too many provisional ballots cast last Saturday and since. We want as many ballots as possible to be counted on election day, November 3, so the results of the election are clear that night.

According to the election office, provisional ballots won’t be counted until November 12.

Before you go to vote in-person

Do a quick check on Voter View to make sure you don’t have a mail-in ballot headed your way. If it shows no advanced ballot, grab your ID and go vote in person. 

If Voter View says you have an advanced (mail-in ballot) on the way or you’ve already received one, VOTE USING YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT.

I have heard from A LOT of friends who forgot that they requested a mail-in ballot after the applications were sent to all of us back in May/June. And there are a lot of people who assumed they could vote in-person using the machines if they just decided not to use their mail-in ballot.

Unfortunately, if you’ve applied for a mail-in ballot and you go to the polls to vote in-person, your options are to vote using the paper provisional ballot they give you, or go home and patiently wait for your mail-in ballot. The latter is strongly recommended.

Over 1,000 people in JoCo voted with a provisional ballot on Saturday. Most showed up to vote in-person, not realizing they would be receiving a mail-in ballot.

What’s Wrong With Provisional Ballots?

Provisional ballots aren’t necessarily bad, but it’s best to avoid them. First, they will not be counted until the week following the election. Each provisional ballot is reviewed and it is determined whether the vote should be counted or not. There are a number of reasons why voters are given a provisional ballot. In the case of mail-in ballots, they will be reviewed to make sure the voter didn’t also vote using their mail-in ballot. If they did, the provisional will be thrown out. 

MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE EARLY — POLLS ARE OPEN

Johnson County has made it extremely easy to vote early in 2020. It is highly recommended that all who can, vote early this year.

  • Pick a day and time and mark it on your calendar.
  • Use KSBALLOT.ORG to see what will be on your ballot.
  • Research ALL of the candidates on your ballot (candidate websites, questionnaires, forums, endorsements)
  • Vote in ALL races. Those state and local races further down on your ballot are so important.
  • Know who you are voting for in EVERY race before you get to the polling location.
  • BRING YOUR ID
  • Wear your I VOTED sticker proudly.

MAIL IN BALLOT TIPS

  • Follow the instructions on your ballot CAREFULLY
  • Include only one ballot in an envelope and make sure each household member uses the specific envelope that came with their ballot—election office matches barcodes.
  • Sign your ballot envelope before sealing. Your ballot will be rejected if it’s missing a signature.
  • Fill out your ballot RIGHT AWAY, after researching your candidates. This will give you the opportunity to track your ballot and make sure it was accepted.
  • Return your ballot EARLY—technically needs to be postmarked by Nov 3 and received by Friday, Nov 6, but it’s best to get it in sooner.

THREE OPTIONS FOR RETURNING YOUR BALLOT

  • Early voting locations (see above). You can skip the line and drop your sealed ballot in one of the secure boxes inside, during voting hours.
  • Ballot dropbox. There are 8 secure 24-hour ballot drop boxes throughout Johnson County (see below). 
  • Mail it in. If mailing, it is recommended to put it in the mail as soon as possible. 
  • Track your ballot on Voter View. Once you have submitted your ballot, you can check Voter View to ensure your ballot has been received and accepted. Google Voter View or use this link: https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView.

*TURN IN YOUR BALLOT EARLY. This will give you the opportunity to track your ballot and follow-up before election day if there are any issues. 

NON-PARTISAN RECOMMENDED CANDIDATES

In her quest to make sure everyone votes in those important, but often overlooked, “down-ballot” state and local races, a very active and passionate friend of mine has put together a Recommended Candidates/Voter Guide based on endorsements from non-partisan groups who believe in things like strong public schools, healthy communities, gun safety, equality for all, and sustainable fiscal policy. Things that I, and most if not all of you, believe in as well. Those non-partisan endorsing groups include MainPac (Mainstream Coalition), Game On For Kansas Schools, Education First Shawnee Mission, Stand Up Blue Valley, Kansas National Education Association, Moms Demand Action, and Equality Kansas.

If you share some of these same priorities and find value in the advocacy groups listed on the voter guide, this list of recommended candidates is a good place to start your research.

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THE 2020 RECOMMENDED CANDIDATES

All of the advocacy groups listed are non-partisan. In the past, they have advocated for a number of both republicans and democrats at the state level. Things are different this year, but not because they have changed their priorities. Unfortunately, between 2018 and 2020 we have lost all of the moderate/traditional republican legislators in Johnson County who supported these priorities and who had the endorsements of these advocacy groups. Some left the party as they were tired of fighting against party leaders who weren’t supporting our public schools, while many others lost their 2018 and 2020 primaries.

It’s important to note that when voters don’t show up for primaries, it’s proving difficult for more moderate republicans to make it through to the November ballot. Only 27% of voters in Kansas voted in the 2018 primary and just 31% in 2020. More people need to understand the importance of voting in primaries.

Voter-Guide-2020-General

KANSAS STATE LEGISLATURE—DID YOU KNOW?

The Kansas state legislature is currently skewed heavily to one party. And, with the loss of the moderate republicans in the primary, the makeup of the state legislature has moved further to the right. For those who don’t follow state politics, it’s important to know: 

  • Republicans currently have a supermajority in both the House (67%) and the Senate (72%).
  • One party controls which bills can go to the floor for a vote, and they have the ability to override any veto by the governor. 
  • Gerrymandering is on the horizon in Kansas.
    • District maps are due to be redrawn after the 2020 census. These maps will last for the next 10 years.  
    • In Kansas, the majority party draws the maps. If the governor decides to veto unfair maps, the republicans can override her veto.
    • Republican Senate President Susan Wagle recently outlined a plan to draw maps that would make it impossible for a Democrat to win a US House seat in Kansas for the next 10 years. Susan Wagle video

In 2020, we need to bring some balance to the legislature and prevent the gerrymandering of our district maps. Kansas voters should decide who represents them, not manipulated maps. Please share any of this information with others you think might find it helpful, and let me know if you have any questions. 

Happy Voting!

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