The Sumner County Clerk and Elections office has made it easier for people to return mail ballots. A ballot drop box has been placed southeast outside the Sumner County Courthouse building, and a second box is located just inside the sliding glass doors on the south side of the courthouse.
On Oct. 14, the first date to mail ballots, Sumner County delivered nearly 1,700 ballots to the Wellington Post Office to be mailed to voters that completed an Application for Advance Ballot by Mail form.
Advance voting by mail has been an option for years, but there has been an influx of requests for mail in ballots this year, Debra Norris, Sumner County Clerk.
"I think a lot of it has to do with COVID," Norris said, adding that people had been asking about mail in ballots since the primaries were held in August.
Norris talked about the ease of submitting ballots in the boxes at the courthouse.
"You can pull up in your car and access it after hours," she said.
Voters can place their ballots in the ballot drop box just inside the south side of the courthouse and they won’t have to go through the COVID screening required when someone goes further inside the building.
"We try to make it very easy for the voter," Norris said.
An advance mail in ballot can be requested of the Sumner County Clerk and Elections office and they will be mailed out. The deadline to request an advance mail in ballot is Oct. 27.
An application for an advance mail in ballot can be downloaded from the Kansas Secretary of State’s website at https://www.sos.ks.gov/forms//elections/AV1.pdf. Forms may also be requested by contacting the county clerk/elections office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling the office at 326-2116 or by going to the office in person.
Ballots must be returned to the election office by 7 p.m., Nov. 3, election day. Ballots can be dropped off at the polling site that day. Ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 3, but received in the election office by Nov. 6 are also counted.
Voters are asked to sign the backs of the envelopes holding their advance mail in ballots. The signatures can be compared to the signatures on their applications, Norris said.
Security cameras are placed by the ballot boxes and ballots are picked up at various times during the day to secure the integrity of the ballots and elections, Norris said.
The ballot boxes were furnished by the Kansas Sec. of State’s office through federal CARE ACT funding.
Advance in person voting at the elections office has started and will continue until noon, Nov. 2.
People are asked not to wear or display anything at an election site that would endorse any candidate.
"If someone comes in with a hat, mask or shirt (endorsing a candidate), we ask them to remove it or turn it inside out, Norris said.