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Don't Miss Candidates On Crowded Ballot, Election Office Says

Ascha Lee
An election office worker inserts a copy of a ballot cast electronically into a tabulator during a public demonstration of Sedgwick County's voting equipment Friday.

The Sedgwick County election office was finalizing details ahead of the primary on Friday, holding a public demonstration of voting equipment to show that each of the more than 600 different variations of ballots will be tallied correctly on Tuesday.

And they’re unusually crowded ballots this year: Depending on your party, there are as many as seven candidates to choose between in the race for governor.

Deputy Election Commissioner Sandy Gritz says the candidates will span two screens on the electronic machines. An alert message will pop up if a voter hasn't looked at all candidates.

Credit Ascha Lee / KMUW
Deputy Election Commissioner Sandy Gritz demonstrates voting equipment Friday. She says because some races won't fit on a single screen, voters will receive a message if they haven't viewed all candidates.

"Because some voters have mentioned that they either didn't notice that page or were confused by it, we actually are ... installing little notes, little paper signs on each of the machines to alert people of that fact," she says.

Another potentially confusing item in this election: the Republican primary race for the 4th Congressional District.

Rep. Ron Estes is running for re-election against an opponent of the same name. Ron M. Estes is an engineer for Boeing running for office for the first time.

If voters need clarification, Gritz says poll workers can only offer limited assistance.

"Election workers are not allowed to provide any information about candidates," she says. "They are allowed to assure the voter that the ballot is correct as written, that there are two candidates with very similar names."

She says voters can take time to research the candidates on their phones at the polling site, or they can cancel their ballot and come back later in the day to finish voting if needed.

Early voting is still underway at the election office through Monday and satellite sites through Saturday.

Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.