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Politics, Elections and Government

Election Day 2020: How Voting Went In Kansas And Missouri

Lines were short in Johnson County Tuesday morning because so many Kansans voted early. In Missouri, there were long waits to vote in some precincts, but not at Arrowhead.

Missouri voters faced long lines at many polling locations on Tuesday.

Clay County Krista Langford waited for about an hour at Maple Woods Community College before she could cast her ballot, though she said the line moved pretty quickly.

"It's not only my right but my privilege to vote, to put somebody in office who is really for all of us. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to help in any way I can," Langford told KCUR.

Meanwhile, at Union Station, there was a long line of cars trying to vote curbside, a service reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Kansas City Election Board Democratic Director Lauri Ealom said part of the holdup was people who weren't COVID-19 positive using curbside voting.

There was at least one polling place where there wasn’t a wait: Arrowhead Stadium, where vote Monique Flenoy headed when she saw a long line her polling stations.

“It was no parking, and the line was already out the door into the parking lot. So we said second choice, come out to the stadium,” Monique Flenoy said. “It looks like it’s a lot of people, but it went very quick.”

Derrick Kuhl also voted at Arrowhead. He said it was the best voting experience he’s had in the 12 years he’s been voting.

“I feel like everything’s on the ballot right now,” he told KCUR. “Health care is incredibly important to me to me and my family. Some sort of version of universal coverage would be incredible. More equitable opportunities for all people, but especially people of color.”

Flenoy and Kuhl both said social distancing was easy inside the stadium. Chiefs cheerleaders reminded voters to stay six feet apart.

Kyle Chadwick and his wife, Teresa, wanted to vote in person at Arrowhead despite the pandemic. Chadwick said he’s more worried about the economy than COVID-19.

“I think we would say we’re supporters of the president,” Chadwick said. “We like the issues where he stands as opposed to Joe Biden. Like I said, the economy.”

Chadwick wasn’t worried about voter intimidation or suppression.

“I’ve never heard of it around here,” he said.

But across town at the National World War I Museum & Memorial, another polling location, workers had to cover graffiti urging voters to fight for revolution instead of casting a ballot.

“This morning our stonework was defaced. We are proud to be a polling location and condemn this attempt at voter intimidation,” a spokeswoman for the museum wrote on Instagram. “Our democracy is something that generations of veterans, including those in WWI, have fought to defend. We hope you’ll vote today.”

By 10:30 a.m., a concrete mason had arrived to wash off the graffiti. Poll workers at the museum had to stop at least one person from entering because he was electioneering loudly for President Trump. Electioneering is not allowed within 25 feet of a polling location in Missouri.

There were several other early morning hiccups, like a car accident that knocked out power at African-Centered Preparatory Academy at 63rd Street and Swope Parkway. It took Evergy about 90 minutes to restore power to the polling location.

Early voting shortens lines in Kansas

In Johnson County, Ayesha Saeed voted for the first time ever at Ironwoods Park in Leawood.

“I am thankful you guys gave me the opportunity to cast my opinion,” said Saeed, who emigrated from Pakistan and lived in the United Arab Emirates before coming to the U.S. “I was in the Middle East for six years, and you don’t vote there.”

Saeed said she’s “not happy” with the direction the country is headed, and she woke up early to vote because she says the Supreme Court is at stake.

Mark Kelly, an election judge at Saeed’s polling location, said there was a line outside at 6 a.m., but by 8 a.m., it had slowed down.

110320_LZ_MarkKelly_ElectionJudge_IronwoodsParkLeawood.jpg
Laura Ziegler/KCUR 89.3
Mike Kelly, an election judge, welcomes voters to Ironwood Park in Leawood. Kelly said there was a line when the polling station open, but otherwise, it's been pretty quiet.

“It really looks like people did their homework, made a plan and got out and voted early, a great number of people,” Kelly said.

According to the Kansas Secretary of State, several people reported receiving robocalls aimed at tricking them into staying home instead of going to the polls.

The calls appear to be part of a nationwide disinformation campaign, said Katie Koupal, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Secretary of State

"This is Election Day. You cannot vote tomorrow. We felt it was necessary to let Kansas voters know so they can be on guard," Koupal said at a news conference.

It’s against state law to distribute false information to stop people from going to the polls on Election Day.

KCUR reporters Jodi Fortino, Laura Ziegler, Carlos Moreno and Celia Llopis-Jepsen contributed to this report.

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