Johnson County advance voting numbers outpacing August primary

Johnson County's election commissioner said more than 50,000 people have already cast advance ballots in the county.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:43 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - Voter turnout in Kansas could be even higher than in the August elections, according to the Johnson County Election Office.

Fred Sherman, the Johnson County Election Commissioner, said more than 50,000 people had already cast advance ballots in the county. He said he expects approximately 10,000 people per day during the advance voting window.

“It’s been good and steady,” Sherman said. “We’re actually seeing about 19 percent higher turnout than we were in August in early turnout so far.”

Chuck Parsell was one of the hundreds who came through the election office to cast an early vote. He decided to cast an advance ballot as a way of voting around his work schedule.

“I wanted to avoid the crowds on election day,” he said.

Sherman recommended researching local ballots ahead of election day. The Johnson County Ballot, which includes 27 judicial retention questions, is longer than normal.

One question on the Kansas ballot has drawn criticism because of its potentially confusing language. Question 2 on the ballot would amend the state constitution to change the way sheriffs are brought into office. The summary of the amendment reads:

“This amendment would preserve the right of citizens of each county that elected a county sheriff as of January 11, 2022, to continue electing the county sheriff. The amendment would also provide that a county sheriff only may be involuntarily removed from office pursuant to either a recall election or a writ of quo warranto initiated by the attorney general.”

A vote for this proposition would preserve the right of citizens of each county that elected a county sheriff as of Jan. 11, 2022, to continue electing the county sheriff via popular vote. The amendment would also direct that a county sheriff only may be involuntarily removed from office pursuant to either a recall election or a writ of quo warranto initiated by the attorney general.

A vote against this proposition would not make any changes to the constitution and would retain current law concerning the election of a sheriff and the procedures for involuntary removal of a sheriff from office.”

Greg Vonnahme, a political science professor at UMKC, said the language may seem confusing to voters.

“It sounds like you’re trying to preserve something that’s already there.”

He said the amendment stemmed from Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden’s unfounded claims that voter fraud during the 2020 elections. Hayden has publicly stated that his office is investigating whether such fraud occurred.

Some critics of Hayden have suggested that his office should be an appointed position.

The Amendment 2 question on the November ballot sprung out of a countereffort to ensure that sheriffs remain an elected position. Its supporters claim that it would leave the office accountable to voters while still establishing a recall process. Its supporters have included the Kansas Sheriffs Association and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Opponents of Amendment 2 have included the ACLU.

“It provides a degree of electoral insulation for the office of sheriff, especially in Johnson County,” Schmidt explained. “Has that changed? No. Is it likely to change? No. But there are some calls to make that shift, which would be headed off if this constitutional amendment passed.”