Voter Registration in Kansas
Choosing to register to vote in Kansas can be a resident’s first step toward practical civic engagement. Election Offices in each county handle the majority of voting-related tasks in the state, with support from the Secretary of State (SOS). Individual counties maintain their own voter registration rolls, with the SOS maintaining a state-wide list. Voters’ experiences can vary widely from county to county, thanks to the latitude counties are given to select voting equipment and make other polling decisions.
In spite of those variations, the state has made efforts to ensure that key portions of the voting experience remain consistent for all voters. For instance, Kansas’s Secure and Fair Elections Law of 2011 implemented state-wide regulations on the use of photo identification at polling places on Election Day. The state also launched a voting app intended to help voter registration card holders readily access ballot and voter information ahead of elections.
Who can register to vote in Kansas?
Applicants can register to vote in Kansas if they are or will be 18 years of age by Election Day, are United States citizens and legal residents of the state. Potential voters who meet this criteria but who have been convicted of a felony may not register until they have been fully discharged from incarceration or parole and met all other conditions of their sentencing.
Voter registration applicants must be able to supply proof of both identify and residence to register. Acceptable documents include but are not limited to:
- Drivers licenses or DMV-issued non-driver ID cards.
- Concealed carry handgun licenses.
- Government employee or military IDs.
- Tribal, college or public assistance IDs.
Kansas Voter Registration Deadline
Kansas voters who are registering for the first time or who need to change voter registration information face a series of important deadlines. Which deadlines apply will depend on when, where and how voters wish to cast their ballots. Examples of relevant deadlines include:
- June 1st – Last day to change political party affiliation to vote in the primaries.
- July 17th – Last day to register to vote in the primaries.
- July 31st – Last day to apply for advance voting in the general election.
- October 16th – Last day to register prior to the general election.
How to Register to Vote in Kansas
How to register to vote in Kansas depends on several factors. The first consideration is whether or not applicants have Kansas drivers licenses or non-driver IDs. Applicants with these documents may register online or through the DMV. Applicants without them must register in person or by mail.
The second major factor is timing. Applicants who have missed registration deadlines may need to apply in person because online and mail-in applications are not being accepted or are not guaranteed to process by Election Day.
Other factors, such as transportation and location, can also affect potential voters’ choices. Applicants who are overseas or serving in the military out of state, for example, generally choose to complete the voter registration process online or by mail.
Early Voting in Kansas
Some voters investigating questions like, “When and where do I vote in Kansas?” will realize that they may actually be unable to vote on Election Day. They may be scheduled to be out of town on business, anticipate being in the hospital for a procedure or expect to be working the full duration of voting hours. Fortunately, advanced voting allows these and other voters to cast their ballots at their convenience prior to Election Day.
Residents can request advance voting ballots from the County Election Officers in the counties in which they are registered to vote. The officers will then mail ballots to voters. Depending on the county, ballots must be submitted in person or may be mailed in by the deadline denoted on the form.
Kansas Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Active duty military service members and their families confused about how to register to vote in Kansas while out of the state or country typically have three options:
- Complete the voter registration process online.
- Register to vote in their home county by mail.
- Use the Federal Post Card Application to register.
In all cases, qualifying voters may request absentee ballots and may cast their ballots by mail by the applicable deadlines to have their votes counted. These voters are exempt from state laws requiring that voters show a photo ID when casting their votes.
Kansas Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Kansas residents can register to vote using absentee ballots online or by requesting the ballots in advance of elections from their county election authorities. No reason or justification is required. Absentee ballots cannot be cast at polling places on Election Day in place of regular ballots.
Voter Registration Cards in Kansas
Voter registration cards in Kansas serve as evidence that voters have completed the registration process. They list basic voter information and point voters toward resources for additional information, when needed.
Voter registration cards are not necessary when voting, but they can serve as reminders to voters to update their information if they change they names, addresses or political affiliations.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Kansas
Voters frequently ask, “Am I registered to vote in Kansas if I’ve moved recently or changed my name?” Voter registrations do not expire and do not have to be renewed. However, voters do need to submit voter registration change of address or change of name applications with their County Election Authorities whenever their names, addresses or political affiliations change. Failure to do so can result in registered voters being barred from voting.
For example, a voter who moves from one county to another and does not change the voter registration address information on his record will not be transferred from the rolls at his former voting precinct to his new one. This may result in the voter having to return to his former precinct to vote or being forced to cast a provisional vote on Election Day.
When updating voter information, drivers should also be sure to change the address on their driver’s licenses, as well as on other important DMV documents, such as their car registration.
How to Replace a Lost Kansas Voter Registration Card
Voters can request replacement voter registration cards from their County Election Authorities.