Sedgwick County voters battle long lines, heat to cast votes
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - 11:20 p.m. More than 90,500 voters turned out on Tuesday to vote in person in Sedgwick County and nearly 51,000 people early voters, as of Tuesday. Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Angela Caudillo said the large turnout was expected.
“We did know this was going to be a heavy, well-attended election. We did expect those lines and we did see some lines today. But we are very excited that a lot of people came out to have their voice heard and get their vote cast,” said Caudillo.
But not everyone thought the county or voters were prepared for the long lines or the triple-digit temperatures.
Jana Kirshbaum voted in Park City. While standing in line, she said she helped three people who suffered medical conditions and heat exhaustion.
“I don’t think that anybody anticipated this long of a wait. So, you know. And doing the heat for a short time, most people can do, and most people came with one bottle of water. You know, some people don’t think about it. Again, I don’t think they realized they were going to be in the heat as long as they were. And, you know the temperature is so high. It’s just dangerous,” Kirschbaum said.
In Valley Center, firefighters passed out water to voters who were standing in line at the Valley Center Community Center.
Extra help was called in at the Linwood Recreation Center after voters stood in line for more than three hours. But voters weren’t the only ones standing in line. Election workers bringing in locked boxes with ballots from the 81 polling locations in Sedgwick County also had to wait in line at the election office.
“We had a busy day, a really unprecedented in this type of election, so we are very excited about the turnout and are working to finalize those results,” said Caudillo.
Shortly after the voting wrapped up, a referendum on abortion rights failed in Kansas. As of midnight, 113,106 votes had been cast in Sedgwick County with 66,274 ‘No’ votes and 46,832 ‘Yes’ votes.
8:50 p.m. Update: Nearly two hours after polls closed in Sedgwick County, voters are still waiting to cast their ballots. That’s according to Wichita City Councilmember Brandon Johnson.
“If you are a trained Sedgwick County poll worker, you are needed ASAP at Linwood Rec. Center! People have been in line for 3hrs waiting to vote,” said Johnson in a tweet. “People have been in line for 3hrs waiting to vote.”
Eyewitness News was in Park City earlier in the evening where voters stood in lines for hours waiting to vote. We have a crew headed to the recreation center for updates.
Polls are closed for the Kansas primary, but voting in some places is far from over. As long as you were in line to vote by 7 p.m., you are guaranteed the opportunity to do so. There is not an official closing time for polls.
Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said turnout appears to exceed what was predicted, perhaps as high as 50 percent. With that, delays are expected. It likely will be hours, perhaps longer in some instances before results really begin to emerge.
You can follow unofficial results as they gradually come in on the Kansas Secretary of State’s website.
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