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Politics, Elections and Government

Voters Begin Casting Primary Ballots Across The Kansas City Metro

Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Prairie Village resident Donna Nealey, leaves the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center polling location in Overland Park on Thursday.

Voters in Kansas may participate in advance voting; Missouri residents can cast absentee ballots by mail or at local election sites if they won't be able to vote on primary day.

Donna Nealey is a lung cancer survivor. When she voted early in Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center in Overland Park on Thursday, she said she was particularly pleased with the safety precautions in place.

“If I’m here, then I think you’re pretty safe,” she said. This is her first time taking advantage of advance voting.

“It’s fast and easy and you get a pen out of it,” she added.

Starting this week, voters in the metro area are allowed to begin voting in the Aug. 4 primary elections.

Carlos Moreno
Army veteran Shawn Paxton, left, gets her voting materials from election worker Karen French on Friday morning in the Wyandotte County Election Office in Kansas City, Kansas.

Wyandotte County election commissioner Bruce Newby said he has been disappointed in the slow turnout but hoped as the election approached more people would have a sense of urgency and would take advantage of the process and the safety measures put in place which seemed like a daunting feat at first.

“What seemed impossible just a few weeks ago, is possible,” he said.

Carlos Moreno
Tremain Davis, left, and his mother Vallire Davis, feed their ballots into the scanners at the Wyandotte County Election Office in Kansas City on Friday morning. Vallire said she brings her special needs 47-year-old son every election to help him cast his ballot.

Many voters who did turn out expressed gratitude for the quick process and the ease of voting coupled with all the safety measures. In addition to protective screens, throw-away stylus pens, and socially distanced voting booths, most polling locations had extra workers on hand wiping down tables, door handles, voting machines or anything else that was touched by voters.

All voting locations in the Kansas City metro area were giving voters stylus pens to keep or throw away as part of safety measures put in place to protect voters and election staff.

“It just seemed an easier way to do it and to avoid all those contaminated folks who might show up on the regular polling day,” said Overland Park resident Patricia Baughman. (She said she was partially joking.)

Carlos Moreno
Kansas City resident Katie Gamble feeds her ballot into a scanner inside the Kansas City Election Board polling place at Union Station on Friday.

Katie Gamble said she travels frequently. She was taking advantage of the early voting opportunity because she expected she would be away on election day.

“I wanted to make sure I got it in,” she said.

Carlos Moreno
Jordan Hunt fills out a paper ballot Friday inside the Kansas City Election Board polling place at Union Station on Friday.

Jordan Hunt had the day off and needed to absentee vote, so she took advantage of the opportunity.

“I love voting in Union Station because it’s just such a beautiful part of Kansas City," Hunt said. "So any excuse that I have to come to Union Station, I’m happy to do.”

Carlos Moreno
Kansas City, Kansas, resident Larry Caldwell casts his vote Friday at the Wyandotte Election Office.

Kansas City, Kansas resident Larry Caldwell said he likes advanced voting because it’s not crowded.

“You get in here early and get your vote in," Caldwell said. "My polling place is fine, but I like it better to come here.”

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