Poll workers in Harvey County have been busy with an upcoming election, and workers at the courthouse have noticed more voters making their way to a early voting station in the basement of the courthouse.
“I don't know if swamped is quite the right word,” said Betty Rhine, who is working in the polling station this week. “We have been really busy.”
Rhine has worked elections in Harvey County since 2002. She told The Kansan that in 14 years, she has never seen this many voters making use of the early polling station.
“It is about double about what it was four years ago,” said Rick Piepho, Harvey County clerk.
There were 343 voters the first day, and 336 on day two, 245 on day three.
It could mean high voter turnout, though Piepho is cautious.
“It is always exciting when people come and vote. I would love a 100 percent turnout,” Piepho said. “I'm excited that it could be a high turnout.”
Early voting at the Harvey County Courthouse, 800 N. Main., will continue next week. Polls will be open frm 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The clerk's office will also be open next Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It has worked out pretty well to have it open on Saturdays for people that work,” Piepho said. “We can sometimes end up with as many as on Saturday as we had on Friday, with less hours.”
The office has also seen a “Strong” number of applications for mail in ballots. This year there have been more than 1,700 requests for mail ballots. Those can still be requested as well.
“We were getting stacks of mail applications, and we are still mailing those out every day,” Piepho said.
Those ballots are due back to the clerk's office by 7 p.m. Nov. 8.
The busy early polls are not limited to Harvey County — early election sites have been busy statewide.
According to the Associated Press, as of 8 a.m. Thursday, 67,211 people voted in person — more than double the 33,832 who did so at that point in the 2014 election. Mail-in ballots are going out at roughly the same pace, with 173,893 mail-in ballots sent out since Oct. 19 across Kansas. Some 49,568 mail-in ballots have been returned.