TOPEKA — Kansas election officials predicted Thursday that the state will see record-setting turnout for this year’s presidential election.
The Kansas Secretary of State’s office said it anticipates 70% of Kansas voters will participate in the election. It anticipates that about 1.35 million Kansans will cast a ballot.
"The 70% itself is not a record — but every number behind it is," said Bryan Caskey, director of elections. "We will have approximately 1.94 million registered voters, which is almost 100,000 more than in 2018."
Their projection is based in part on the record-setting turnout so far with advance mail and in-person voting. Election officials have sent 506,767 advance mail ballots to Kansas voters. As of Thursday, 346,489 advance by mail ballots have been returned to local election offices and 220,908 voters have cast in person ballots.
The return rate for mail ballots to date is around 68% and election officials anticipate tens of thousands of mail ballots will come in during the final days, based on a return rate for mail ballots in the August primary election of 83%, Caskey said.
Democrats are returning more advanced ballots for the general election, while Republicans are casting more votes at advance in-person polling locations so far.
A breakdown of party affiliation in returned mail ballots shows 231,033 were cast by Democrats, 189,845 by Republicans, 83,269 by unaffiliated voters, and 2,606 Libertarian voters.
The breakdown for advance in-person ballots shows Republicans casting 126,240 ballots, followed by 52,946 from Democrats, 39,898 from unaffiliated voters, and 1,824 by Libertarian voters.
Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said election officials expect that "by and large" they should have the outcome of every race in the state by around 10:30 p.m. on Election Day, barring any unforeseen problems or close races.