EVERY COUNTY HAS AN ELECTION OFFICIAL
In Kansas, county clerks manage elections across the state. In the four largest counties, an appointed election commissioner is responsible for administering the elections within the county. The election commissioner is appointed by the Kansas Secretary of state. The four counties with an election commissioner are Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, and Wyandotte. In the remaining 101 counties, the elected county clerk serves as the county election officer.
THERE ARE THREE WAYS TO VOTE IN KANSAS
Kansans can cast their ballot by advance in-person voting, by an advance mail ballot, or in-person on election day.
YOU CAN VOTE IN-PERSON BEFORE ELECTION DAY
All Kansas counties must offer in-person advance voting per state law. Advance voting can start 20 days before election day but must begin at least 7 days prior to election day. In-person advance voting concludes in every county at noon on the Monday before the election.
THE VOTER REGISTRATION DATABASE IS PUBLIC RECORD
The statewide voter registration database, called the Election Voter Information System (ELVIS), includes individual voter registration records provided by county election officers. Kansas law allows for voter registration data to be available to the public; however, no voter registration information shall be made available unless the voter’s driver's license and social security numbers have been removed (K.S.A. 25-2309). State law prohibits the use of voter registration lists for commercial purposes.
BI-LINGUAL VOTING MATERIAL IS AVAILABLE
Based on the Voting Rights Act, Kansas was required to provide voting materials in Spanish beginning in 2002. If more than five percent of a county’s residents who are of voting age include members of a single-language minority group do not speak or understand English adequately to comfortably participate in the electoral process, alternative language assistance is provided through printed materials and language outreach. Currently, six counties in Kansas provide required alternative language assistance – Finney, Ford, Grant, Haskell, Stevens, and Seward Counties.
YOUR VOTING HISTORY IS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE
Registered Kansas voters may view their Kansas voting history/activity on our website under VoterView. However, VOTERVIEW DOES NOT PROVIDE INSTANT VOTER CREDIT! Whether you voted advance in-person or on Election Day, county election officials are responsible for updating voter credit and begin doing so after the election results have been canvassed and certified. However, if the voter chooses to vote by mail, VoterView does promptly track your ballot.
MACHINES THAT COUNT BALLOTS ARE NOT CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET
In Kansas, counties are prohibited by law from using voting equipment that has the capability of being connected to the Internet.
AS TECHNOLOGY EVOLVED SO DID ELECTIONS
Prior to technology enhancements, ballots were counted by hand. Although it seems simple, hand counting ballots is the method most susceptible to fraud, prone to inaccuracies, and very slow. Moreover, universal hand counting would require a substantially different process than what has been used in Kansas for decades. All Kansas counties now use tabulators to count ballots. Tabulators are not connected to the Internet. In fact, post-election audits are hand counted and compared to the tabulator count from election night. Also, tabulators are tested publicly immediately before the election and immediately after the election. The Secretary of State encourages the public to witness this process.
TABULATING EQUIPMENT HAS SECURITY TESTING BEFORE AND AFTER AN ELECTION - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
It is Kansas law that tabulating equipment must be tested before and after the election, known as “logic and accuracy testing.” Testing is open to the public to observe. The purpose of testing is to ensure the tabulating equipment is tabulating ballots properly. During the testing, both proper and improper ballots are submitted through the tabulator to ensure the counting is accurate. To observe this process, call your local county election office for more information.
VOTING EQUIPMENT SYSTEMS ARE CERTIFIED
All voting equipment systems used in Kansas are certified by the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the Kansas Secretary of State. To obtain certification by the EAC, each voting system must be tested by an independent testing authority prior to federal certification. All 105 counties in Kansas use voting equipment systems that have been certified.
ELECTRONIC BALLOT MARKING DEVICES ARE NOT TABULATORS
A ballot marking device is an electronic display containing the voter’s ballot. In Kansas, elections are administered at the county level, and the election official may determine the vendor and ballot style best suited for their county. For example, some counties use an electronic ballot marking device which produces a paper ballot while others use only a paper ballot. State law requires all voting equipment used in a Kansas to produce a voter-verified paper ballot. It is this paper ballot that the voter places into the tabulator to be counted. Although counties have the discretion of vendor choice, all election equipment must be certified by the Kansas Secretary of State before it can be used by any county.
EVERY BALLOT HAS A UNIQUE MARK ON IT
All ballots in Kansas are required by law to have a unique mark or stamp located on the ballot. This designed symbol on the ballot verifies the ballot is official, provides an extra layer of security, and must be present for ballots to be counted in the tabulating machine. To further enhance security, starting in 2024, ballots will be required by law to have a watermark in addition to the symbol.
BALLOT HARVESTING IS ILLEGAL IN KANSAS
Dropping off and/or mailing mail ballot envelopes on behalf of multiple voters is sometimes known as “ballot harvesting” and the person carrying the ballots is sometimes called a “mule.” In Kansas, it is a crime for any one person to deliver more than 10 ballot envelopes and anyone carrying a mail ballot envelope for a voter must complete an affidavit on the ballot envelope. (KSA 25-2437). A violation of this law could result in a felony charge. The Secretary of State’s office encourages those who witness such a crime to report the evidence HERE.
YOU CAN TRACK YOUR MAIL BALLOT
You can track the status of your advance by mail ballot on our VoterView website.
KANSAS LAW MANDATES BALLOT DISPOSAL
State law mandates ballot destruction for state and national ballots after 22 months (K.S.A. 25-2708(b)). State law mandates ballots from local elections (township, school district, city, and county) to be destroyed after six months. The mandatory destruction provision has been in place since 1893. Following the county canvass and applicable recounts, ballots are required to be sealed and stored until destroyed. The ballots must be destroyed in the presence of bi-partisan electors selected by the county commission.
KANSAS REQUIRES VOTER ID
Whether you are voting by mail or in person, voter ID is required by statue K.S.A. 25-2908. Kansas has had voter ID for over a decade. Voter ID helps prevent voter fraud by ensuring that every eligible voter has appeared in person to a government official and has had their identity verified prior to casting a ballot. It is the most fundamental tool to ensuring one vote equals one person.
YOU CAN REPORT VOTER FRAUD
If you witness suspicious activity related to a Kansas election, please notify our office HERE immediately.
ADDITIONAL ELECTION SECURITY MEASURES WERE SIGNED INTO LAW
In 2022, Secretary Schwab proposed election security enhancement legislation that has now been signed into law. The new law is one of the most significant election reform measures since Kansas adopted Voter ID in 2011. The law enhances the security of election equipment, requires more post-election audits, improves voter roll maintenance, adds watermarks to the ballot, and develops a chain of custody affidavit process for the handling of all ballots. Read more HERE.
KANSAS IS A SIGNATURE VERIFICATION STATE
To receive an official advance ballot by mail the voter must provide a copy of a government issued ID and the voter’s signature must be verified. A signature is verified when it matches the voter signature on file with the county election office. If the signature does not match, the applicant is contacted, and an updated signature is obtained prior to transmitting an advance ballot by mail. Once the advance ballot by mail is returned, the voter must sign the advance ballot envelope declaring the voter marked the ballot. If the signature does not match, the ballot is marked as provisional, and the county election office is required to contact the voter to verify the signature. During this process, a ballot can become cured*, or removed and flagged to the district attorney for fraud.
*A cured ballot means the concern has been resolved favorably and the ballot can be counted.
VOTER ROLL MAINTENANCE IS ALWAYS TAKING PLACE
Although it is easy to remove deceased people from the voter rolls due to information provided by the Office of Vital of Statistics, the Social Security Administration, and obituaries, frequent movers can become difficult to track. That is why Secretary Schwab proposed a bill (HB 2135) to the Kansas legislature to help improve voter roll maintenance in the state. In 2022, this bill was passed and signed into law. Now, county election officials can send a notice to those who have had no election related activity for four or more years. If the notice is returned as undeliverable, federal law requires election offices wait up to four years before removing the person from the voter registration list.
KANSAS CONDUCTS AN AUDIT FOLLOWING EVERY ELECTION
Post-election audits took place for the first time in Kansas history in 2019 under Secretary Schwab’s administration. A post-election audit is conducted by a sworn and trained bi-partisan board and is open to the public. For more information on post-election audits in your county, please contact your county election officer HERE.
ELECTION RESULTS ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL COUNTY CANVASS AND/OR STATE CANVASS
The County Board of Canvassers consists of the elected county board of commissioners in each county. The responsibility of the County Board of Canvassers is to review all provisional ballots and certify the election results within the county. The canvassing takes place publicly and must be completed between six and thirteen days following the election. Certification of election results by the County Board of Canvassers is required for all elections-- including the primary and general elections.
The State Board of Canvassers consists of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. The State Board of Canvassers meet following the certification by the County Boards of Canvassers of the election results in each county. The State Board of Canvassers is responsible for certifying the election results for all national and state offices. The meeting takes place publicly and must be completed by the 1st of September for the primary election, and by the 1st of December for the general election. Certification of election results by the State Board of Canvassers is required for all primary and general races for national and state offices.
ELECTION RESULTS CAN ONLY BE CHANGED BY CONTESTING AN ELECTION
Any Kansas registered voter may contest the election of any person for whom the voter had the right to vote. The voter must file an "Election Contest" in the clerk of the district court’s office to do so. Election contests are handled within the court system and the judge has wide discretion in how to address the contest. Election contests do not apply to federal races.
ADMINISTRATIVE ERRORS ARE NOT THE BASIS FOR OVERTURNING AN ELECTION
In Kansas, elections are administered at the county level. Every county has volunteer poll workers and election officials who administer the election for the county. These workers are human and administrative error can occur. However, administrative error is not fraud. The oldest election law in Kansas states that administrative errors are not the basis for overturning an election. (K.S.A. 25-705, 25-716).