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SECRETARY OF STATE RELEASES PRIMARY ELECTION TURNOUT PREDICTION

Friday, July 31, 2020

TOPEKA – The Office of Secretary of State today released the turnout projection for the August 4, primary election. Secretary of State Scott Schwab predicts 28 percent of Kansas voters will participate in the 2020 primary election.

"Our priority has been, and will continue to be, to maintain balance in protecting the health and safety of Kansas voters and election workers while also ensuring the security of Kansas elections," said Secretary of State Scott Schwab. "If you feel safe going to the grocery store, you should feel safe to vote."

The turnout prediction is based on several factors including historical turnout data, advance voting figures, registered voters in Kansas, and competitive races driving turnout. The Secretary of State's Office acknowledged the pandemic has created several unique factors not present in prior elections. In 2018, roughly 487,00 registered voters, or 27 percent, participated in the primary election. Advance voting trends show an estimated 300,000 ballots will be cast through advance voting as part of the primary election. Unofficial numbers report there are approximately 1.86 million registered Kansas voters. It is important to note 30 percent of registered voters in Kansas are unaffiliated with a political party and unable to participate in the primary election unless they choose to affiliate.

Schwab encourages voters to be proactive in returning advance by mail ballots. Voters can return their advance by mail ballots in the mail, drop them off at local election offices, place them in secure lock boxes at county election offices or hand deliver them to a polling location on election day. Advance by mail ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and received in the local election office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 7.

"Despite the ongoing pandemic, we are pleased with the number of Kansas voters who have exercised their right to vote through advance by mail ballots and advance in-person voting. We encourage those who have not voted to do so on Tuesday, August 4," said Schwab.

As of Friday, July 31, 2020, there have been 314,788 advance by mail ballots sent to Kansas voters. Comparatively, 51,211 ballots were sent to Kansas voters during the same period in the 2018 primary election and 53,387 advance by mail ballots were mailed during the same period in the 2016 primary election. To date, 159,012 advance by mail ballots have been returned to local election offices, compared to 26,917 in the 2018 primary election and 26,795 in the 2016 primary election. Party affiliation of the returned advance by mail ballots are as follows: 81,208 democrats, 77,372 republicans, 9 libertarian, 423 unaffiliated.

Kansas voters have until noon on Monday, August 3, to advance vote in-person. As of Friday, July 31, 30,762 advance in-person ballots have been cast. Of those, 23,599 were by registered Republicans, 6,455 were cast by registered Democrats, 3 by registered Libertarians and 745 unaffiliated voters. For the 2018, primary election 40,406 advance in-person ballots were cast. For the 2016, primary election 28,452 advance in-person ballots were cast.

In light of COVID-19, Kansas voters are encouraged to be safe and follow the recommended safety protocols of health professionals. Voters should expect increased distance between voting booths, greater distance in interactions with election workers and frequent sanitizing of election equipment. No voter will be turned away for wearing, or not wearing, a mask. Although state law requires Kansas voters to show photo ID when casting a vote in-person, pursuant to Executive Order 20-55, voters may use driver's licenses or identification cards that have expired between March 12, 2020 and September 15, 2020 in both the 2020 primary and general election.

The Secretary of State's office reminds the public that election results are unofficial until certified by local and state election boards. Due to enhanced COVID-19 safety precautions and historically high advance voting numbers, election returns may be delayed on the evening of the primary election.

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