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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Are You Ready To Vote, Kansas? Here’s Your Checklist.


Kansans can cast their ballots early (and many are doing so). But for everyone who wants to vote on Election Day, here are some things you need to know:

1. What’s my registration status?

It doesn’t hurt to check before you go. Kansas residents can check online to see if they’re registered to vote.

If you registered to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles before the Oct. 18 deadline, the receipt you got when you submitted your application may have been wrong. If you registered at the DMV or otherwise with the federal form, you can vote in all races--federal, state and local--even if you haven’t provided proof of citizenship like the state form requires. That should be reflected in the voter database.

2. What if my name isn’t on the list?

If you registered at the last minute in Kansas, or if your registration had been suspended during the back-and-forth over proof-of-citizenship rules, your name could be in a supplemental poll book. If the poll worker is thumbing through a paper poll book and your name isn’t there, ask them to double check. If your county uses electronic poll books, those get updated, so long as you properly registered and showed up at the right polling place your name should be in there.

3. Do provisional ballots count?

Not on Election Day.

If a poll worker can’t locate your voter registration, you may be asked to vote with a provisional ballot. You’ll be given information on how to follow up to see if your ballot is accepted, but your vote won’t be counted until the county canvass, typically the Monday after the election. Then the county abstracts go to the Secretary of State, who schedules a meeting of the state board of canvassers for the first day of the next month after an election (Dec. 1 for the November general elections).

4. Where’s my polling place?

You only get to vote at one designated location on Election Day. You can look up your polling place here.

5. Do I need to show a photo ID?

Yes, you do. You’ll need to state your name and show photo ID, which could be a driver’s license, a non-driver ID card, your U.S. passport, a government or military ID, a Kansas college ID or even your concealed carry permit

6. I don’t like my choices. Can I write in the name of my candidate/neighbor/pet?

Sure, so long as Fido registered with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office in advance. State law requires write-in candidates for president, vice president and all state offices elected on a statewide basis to file an affidavit of write-in candidacy by noon on the second Monday before the general election. Here's the list of write-in candidates for president and vice president.

You can write in any candidate of your choosing for U.S. Congress or down-ballot legislative races in Kansas.

7. Can I take a selfie?

Ballot selfies are “discouraged but not against the law,” according to Desiree Taliaferro, spokesperson for the Kansas Secretary of State. She’s more concerned that people taking ballot selfies will slow down already long lines.

Though it says Kansas has no such law, the manual for county election officials has some pretty strong language about the reasons for banning cell phones from polling places. The manual says cell phones could be used for electioneering and photos of ballots could encourage fraud. But, says Bryan Caskey, director of Elections in the Secretary of State’s Office, “a person who takes a picture and posts it to social media would not be violating Kansas law.”

8. Can I bring my gun?

It depends on where your polling place is located. After the state's gun law was revised, the state attorney general issued an advisory opinion in 2013 stating that "any concealed carry requirements that applied to that property immediately before its temporary use as a polling place continue to apply." That means some publicly owned buildings that serve as polling places must allow concealed weapons even on Election Day. However, public schools don't have to allow concealed carry and private buildings, such as churches, can opt to prohibit firearms on their premises. If guns are banned at your polling place, a sign should be posted saying so.


Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR, which is a partner in a statewide collaboration covering elections in Kansas. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to state that concealed firearms are permitted in some polling places in Kansas.