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Voting Basics & Registration

Frequently asked questions
    • Registering to vote is easy! You can register to vote for the first time or change your current registration information online at the Kansas Department of Revenue's website. You must have a valid Kansas driver’s license or non-driver's identification card. If you do not have either of these documents, you should register to vote using the paper form, available to print from the Kansas Secretary of State's website or at any library branch, and drop it in the mail.

      Source: https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections/how-do-i-vote/

    • You can check your voter registration status at VoteKS.org. This site will also tell you where your polling place is and offer you a sample ballot 5 weeks before the election. Every time your name, address or party affiliation changes, you will be required to re-register.

    • The deadline to vote before any election is 21 days before the election takes place. To be eligible to vote in the Kansas state primary on August 4, the voter registration deadline is July 14. The deadline to register to be eligible to vote in the general election on November 3 is October 13.

    • If your name has changed since the last election, you will have to re-register to be eligible to vote. You can do it online. You can also fill out a paper form, available online to print or at any library branch, and drop it in the mail. Make sure the name on the ID you provide when registering to vote matches your new legal name.

      Source: https://www.sos.ks.gov/elections/19elec/2019-Kansas-Election-Standards-Chapter-I-Voter-Registration.pdf

    • If your address has changed since the last election, you will have to re-register to be eligible to vote. You can do it online. You can also fill out a paper form, available online to print or at any library branch, and drop it in the mail.

    • If you move to a different county within Kansas after the registration deadline you will need to vote at the precinct assigned to your old address. At that time you will be required to complete an affidavit of former precinct residence and a new voter registration application. If you’ve moved to Kansas from another state and the deadline to register has passed, you may vote a president-only ballot. You are not required to have been registered at your previous address to be eligible. To request one, you must go to your county election office no later than noon the day before the general election to fill out the required forms and then you may cast your ballot at the county election office.

    • As of 2018, Kansas no longer requires people to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The previous Kansas law that required proof of citizenship in order to register to vote was ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Federal Court for the State of Kansas in the case Fish vs. Kobach. The court held “that voter registration applicants need not provide proof of citizenship in order to be registered to vote, and need not provide any additional information in order to complete their voter registration applications.”

      For more information on this court ruling, please visit https://www.aclu.org/cases/fish-v-schwab-formerly-fish-v-kobach.

    • If you do not have a Kansas-issued driver’s license or state ID before the election registration deadline, you will have to register to vote using the paper application and can use the last 4 digits of your social security number in place of the ID number. You will need to get a Kansas driver’s license or non-driver ID by election day in order to vote. If the voter registration deadline has passed, you can request a provisional ballot at your polling place on election day (or during early voting), where you will be able to register to vote and will be given a paper ballot. If voting provisionally for this reason, you must provide a copy of your government issued photo ID to the election office prior to the beginning of the Official County Canvass (when the votes are counted) in person or by fax, email or postal mail.

    • It can take a few days up to a few weeks for your voter registration application to process. You can check your registration status online at VoteKS.org. If you have any questions about your application status, contact your county election office.

    • Voters are not required to pick a party when registering to vote and may select the unaffiliated choice.

    • Use OpenStates.org's Find Your Legislator tool to look up your legislator based on your address or current location. To find further information, go to the Kansas Legislature website and search by name under the “Legislators” tab. This page provides contact info, committees served on, and sponsored or supported bills and resolutions for your legislators.

    • If you live in Sedgwick County, you can find your local and state election districts, which include board of county commissioners, city council, unified school district, state representative and state senate, by visiting the County's website. To find which congressional district you are in, visit https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and enter your zip code.

    • Sample ballots are generally available 5 weeks prior to each scheduled election; you can go to VoteKS.org to view a preview of your specific ballot for a given election. This requires that you be a registered voter and provide your name, county and date of birth.

    • Yes! You can check back here frequently, as this page will evolve over the course of this election cycle. Also you can to sign up for VOTE ICT text alerts! In partnership with devICT, KMUW, and AB&C Bilingual Services, VOTE ICT will share SMS texts about interesting voting facts, events, and dates you should pay attention to. Subscribe by texting START to 864-ICT-VOTE. For texts in Spanish, text SPANISH to the same number. At any time, you can text ENGLISH to switch to English.

    • Advance Voting

      All voters are eligible to vote by mail in Kansas, also known as “advance voting.” To vote by mail, you will have to request an advance ballot application from your county election office. If you live in Sedgwick County, you can call them at 316-660-7100 to request one, or you can download a copy of the application online. Rules and dates for advanced ballots are found on the Kansas Secretary of State's website Voters can also hand-deliver their advance ballot to the county election office or any polling location within their county by the close of polls on Election Day. Voters who are ill, disabled or not proficient in English may receive assistance in applying for and casting advance ballots. It’s important to note that an application must be submitted for each election, unless a voter qualifies for Permanent Advance Voting Status. Contact your local election office for more information and to apply for permanent status.

      Overseas Voting

      Overseas voting, or federal services voting, is available for military personnel and their dependents as well as civilians and their dependents living abroad. A voter must meet the criteria established by the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Voters voting under the UOCAVA are exempt from Kansas photo ID requirements. Overseas absentee voting is not the same as advance voting in Kansas. Registered voters who do not qualify under the federal overseas voting rules may apply for an advance ballot in the county where they are registered and will be subject to the ID requirements.

      Visit fvap.gov for more information.

    • The Sedgwick County Election Office begins in-person advance voting 15 days before the election and continues until 12 Noon the Monday before Election Day. Additional satellite sites are open Thursday – Saturday the week before Election Day for local elections, or Tuesday – Saturday for large county-wide elections. Check the Election Office's website for locations and times.

    • You will have to vote in the precinct of your permanent residence. You can either apply for an advance voting (mail-in) ballot from your home county’s election office, or go to the polling location in your home precinct to vote in-person. If you want to be able to vote in Wichita, you will have to change your residence on your ID to your school address and then re-register to vote with that address.

    • You can find your polling place at VoteKS.org. At this time, if voting in-person on election day, you have to vote at your assigned polling location. If voting early in-person, you can go to the Sedgwick County Election Office or one of the assigned early voting satellite locations during their designated times. (These times will be available closer to the election online or by calling the Election Office at 316-660-7100. Polling places are open for voting on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Both machine voting and paper ballot voting options are available.

    • First, you will be asked to provide a government-issued photo ID, you will then be asked to state your full name and address to the check in clerk. If your name or address doesn’t match the voter registration data, you will have to fill out a provisional ballot. As long as your stated name and address match your registration record, you can choose to vote either by paper or machine ballot. If using the machine ballot, you will insert the blank paper ballot given to you by the poll worker into the machine. You will then make your selections on the screen, which will then record your selections and print out your completed ballot. You will then give your completed ballot to the poll worker. Be sure to wear your “I voted” sticker with pride!

    • Kansas voters must show photo ID when voting in person. When voting by mail, voters must have their signature verified AND include a copy of an acceptable form of photo ID OR provide a full Kansas driver’s license number/non-driver ID. Acceptable forms of ID include: Kansas Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID Card, Concealed Carry Handgun License, U.S. Passport, U.S. Government Employee ID (municipal, county, state or federal), U.S. Military ID, Kansas College ID, Government Public Assistance ID, or Indian Tribal ID. If using Kansas Driver’s license as form of ID, it cannot be expired at the time of voting; persons age 65 and older are exempt from this and may provide an expired driver’s license as a form of photo ID.

    • Yes. Any person whose religious beliefs prohibit them from having a photo ID may be exempted from the ID requirement to vote. A Declaration of Religious Objection form must be filled out and submitted to either the Secretary of State or County Election Office where the person is registered. The DRO forms can be printed from the Secretary of State's website.

    • The ballot is only available in English. If a voter requires assistance because of a language barrier, they may receive assistance from another person (advance voting only). The person rendering assistance must sign a statement and return both the statement and the advance ballot to the Sedgwick County Election Office by the time the polls close election day. If needing assistance for in-person voting, contact your county election office.

    • If a voter is elderly or disabled goes to the voting place, but finds it inaccessible, they may request that his or her ballot be brought to the entrance of the voting place. Registered voters that have permanent physical disabilities or illnesses are also permitted to automatically receive advance ballots before every election. Applications for this special Permanent Advance Ballot Status are available from the Sedgwick County Election Office or at your library branch.

    • All voting machines in Sedgwick County are equipped with an audio ballot feature for accessibility as well as other ADA features. If you require an audio ballot or any other related accommodation, please ask an election worker.

    • If there is a discrepancy between what identifying information a voter states to the election worker at the polling location and what the voting registration record indicates, a provisional ballot will be required. A provisional ballot is used when a voter’s name or address differs from their voter registration information. Situations when a provisional ballot is needed include if the voter’s name is missing from the registration database, if the person is listed as an advance voter, if the voter’s registered party affiliation is different than the party they state to the election worker (primary elections only), or if the voter is unable to provide a government-issued photo ID at the time of voting. When issued a provisional ballot, the voter will first fill out a new voter registration application and then be given the provisional (paper) ballot to complete. A person voting by provisional ballot will also be handed an envelope to fill out and then seal the ballot inside. The sealed envelope will be held by election officials pending a determination, as provided by law, of the voter’s qualifications to vote. If you are told you are ineligible to vote, you have a right under federal law to cast a provisional ballot, which is used to record a vote when there are questions about a voter's eligibility.

    • If you are convicted of a state or federal felony, you are required to complete the terms of your sentence (including probation and parole) before your voting rights can be restored. The county election office doesn’t automatically restore your name on the voter registration list once your voting rights have been restored, so you will be required to re-register to vote. You will not be required to provide proof of final discharge when registering to vote; however, the voter registration form does contain an affidavit above the signature attesting that your voting rights have been restored. Signing a false affidavit is a felony, which could result in loss of voting rights if convicted, so be sure to check that all terms of your sentence have been completed before attempting to re-register to vote.

    • If you do not have any approved government-issued photo ID and wish to vote, you may be eligible to a receive a free non-driver ID card though the Kansas DMV. Visit https://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/DE-VID1.pdf for more info on eligibility requirements. If you are unable to produce proof of identity in order to receive the free non-driver ID, you may also be eligible for a free birth certificate in order to apply for a non-driver ID if you were born in Kansas. You will be required to complete three forms. The forms can be accessed at GotVoterID.com.

    • Individuals who do not have proof of identity and do not wish to pay for such a document may apply for a State Voter Identification Document at no cost. (NOTE: This identification document is valid only for the purpose of voting in Kansas and may not be used for any other purpose.) To qualify, a person must have been born outside Kansas or been born in Kansas and received a “no certificate found” letter from the office of vital statistics and will need to provide a copy of the letter to the Secretary of State’s Office along with their application. Qualified individuals should contact the election division of the Secretary of State's office at election@sos.ks.gov or (800) 262-VOTE to apply.

    • If you think your voting rights have been denied, call the ACLU of Kansas’s Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. If you are threatened with violence at or near a polling place, call 911. Other types of harassment or voter intimidation should be reported to a poll worker (unless they are the perpetrator) or by calling the ACLU hotline number listed above.

    • If you are told at the polling place that you aren’t on the registered voter list, ask for a provisional ballot. You can also verify your information at VoteKS.org.

    • Primaries are structured similarly to general elections, where people vote for their preferred candidate in state-run elections to determine how many pledged delegates each candidate earns. The number of delegates assigned to each state is based on a formula that factors in its number of votes the Democratic nominee received during the previous three presidential elections and the number of electoral college votes allocated in the upcoming election.

      Because the Kansas Democratic Primary will complete after May 1, the Democratic National Committee awarded Kansas a 20 percent bonus in delegates for a total of 47 delegates instead of the original 39. Voting will be done using a ranked-choice voting system, where voters will list their top 5 candidates in order of preference, with 1 being their top choice. The delegates will be assigned to candidates based on the percentage that each candidate receives in the final round of the total vote tally. The Kansas Democratic Primary will take place on May 2. A mailing will be sent out to all registered Democrats in Kansas on March 9th explaining how to vote by advance ballot or in-person. This mailing will include information on exact locations for in-person voting. On March 30, mail-in ballots will be sent to all registered Democrats in Kansas. The last day to request a mail in ballot is April 17; all mail-in ballots must be postmarked by April 24. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kansas Democratic Party announced all voting will take place by mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed automatically to all registered Democrats in Kansas on March 30. A second set of ballots will be sent on April 7 to voters who register as Democrats after the March 30 mailing. To be counted, ballots must be received in the mail by the Kansas Democratic Party no later than May 2.

      For more information, visit kansasdems.org.

    • Kansas is one of many states opting not hold a presidential Republican primary or caucus in 2020. It is not uncommon for incumbents running for re-election to forgo primaries and caucuses to save the state parties money when the outlook for the incumbent is favorable for winning.

    • In a primary, residents cast ballots for their preferred candidate versus in a caucus where voters openly decide which candidate to support. States choose whether to have primaries or caucuses. Most states hold primaries but states like Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Maine, and until recently, Kansas use the caucus system. Caucuses are gatherings organized by the party where participants debate the candidates’ merits and choose their preferred candidate. After the initial vote count is taken, voters backing candidates who earned less than 15 percent – the minimum threshold to earn pledged delegates – are free to shift their support to other candidates or go home.

    • It depends on the state and whether it is an open or closed primary. Kansas is a closed-primary state and in order to vote in the Democratic primary, you have to affiliate with the Democratic party 21 days before the Democratic Primary election (April 11). You can either switch your party affiliation or decide to choose a party prior to the primary election date (May 2). If you are a registered Republican and wish to switch to Democrat to vote in the primary, you must do so no less than 21 days before the Democratic primary election. However, if you are unaffiliated with a party on election day, you do have the option to affiliate with the Democratic party on election day; you will be required to complete a provisional ballot to do so.

      Source: http://www.sos.ks.gov/forms/elections/Voting_Rules_for_Primary_Elections.pdf

    • A ranked-choice voting system is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority. This system is sometimes referred to as an “instant runoff voting system.”

    • During the primaries and caucuses, candidates compete for 3,979 pledged delegates who will vote for them at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) which will be held in Milwaukee on July 13-16. If a candidate secures a majority of the pledged delegates (1,990 or higher), he or she will have the necessary support to secure the Democratic nomination. The Democratic National Committee changed the rules since the 2016 election to dilute superdelegates' power and will not count them in the first round. If no candidate secures a majority in the first round, the estimated 771 superdelegates will vote in subsequent rounds. A candidate will then need to receive a majority of all delegates, pledged and unpledged, to secure the nomination.

      Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/elections/articles/2020-02-11/how-democrats-choose-their-presidential-nominee-and-why-itll-take-awhile

    • A delegate is a person who is sent to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference such as the Democratic National Convention. In 2020, there will be 4,750 delegates: 3,979 pledged delegates and 771 automatic delegates – more commonly know as superdelegates. Superdelegates are automatic delegates to the DNC, and unlike at-large district-level delegates, they are not elected to this position. They are also not required to pledge their support to a specific presidential candidate. Superdelegates are high-ranking members of the DNC in each state and U.S. territory, Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, and distinguished party leaders such as current or former presidents and vice presidents.

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