Long Wait For Advance Voters Trying To Beat Election Day Lines

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Eager voters trying to avoid long lines at the polls on election day found themselves waiting in long lines today.

"I figured I'd try to get in a little early, thinking [the crowd] is going to be small. But here I am, still in line," William Craft said. He was one of the many advance voters packing the Shawnee County Election Office at 911 Southwest 37th Street on Monday morning. He said he waited in line for a good 20 minutes to cast his ballot.

He wasn't the only one.

"I'm voting to make a difference and you know, I came early today because I thought it wouldn't be as crazy today," Rachel Platte said. "But obviously, I was wrong," she laughed.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach last week predicted a lower turnout of Kansas voters in this general election - 68 percent compared to 72 percent in the 2008 and 2004 elections.

Shawnee County elections workers says the advance voting numbers reflect that.

"In 2008 it's my understanding there were longer lines than this that wrapped around the building," Assistant Election Commissioner Mark Stock said. By comparison, Monday's lines only wound out the door.

Despite the wait, voters' enthusiasm didn't wain.

"I think it's important for everybody to get their voice in, [with] what's going on today," Craft said.

"No matter who, what candidate they're voting for, just get out and vote. Let people know how important it is to vote," he said.

The advance voting period ended at noon Monday. Those who tried to vote early but arrived after the deadline are urged to head to their polling place Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anyone who has received an advance ballot by mail must have it turned in to the elections office by 7 p.m. Tuesday.