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Sedgwick County Wants To See Legislature Change State Election Law

LaRissa Lawrie
KMUW/File photo
Sedgwick County commissioners want state lawmakers to change election law to allow open polling on Election Day.

Sedgwick County commissioners are working on a list of priorities for state lawmakers to take up during the 2019 legislative session.

They held a meeting Tuesday to revise the county’s annual legislative platform before it comes up for a formal vote. The platform is an outline of key initiatives for the county's lobbyists and governmental representatives.

Commissioners are interested in state funding for a new Regional Mental Health Facility to be located in Sedgwick County.

They would also like to see a change in election law to allow for open polling.

Commissioner Dave Unruh says voters should be able to use any polling place on election day in Sedgwick County.

"We have the technology, and we ought to use it," he said. "I don’t want to make it such that every county has to do that if they are not equipped to do it, and force somebody into a spending decision."

Under current law, open polling is only allowed during the early voting period before an election.

The legislative change would not only make voting easier and more convenient, but it would also reduce the number of provisional ballots in each election.

More than 2,000 provisional ballots were used in the August primary. Some were issued because voters came to the wrong polling location. A provisional ballot is used if there is any doubt about a person’s eligibility to vote.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the legislative platform at an upcoming meeting.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.