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Early voting for the November election opened in Chase County Wednesday. But Lyon County voters will have to wait a few more days.

Chase County residents can vote at the County Clerk's office from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays through the end of October, Clerk Connie Pretzer said. A half-day of advance voting is planned Monday, November 1.

Lyon County will kick off early voting Saturday, Clerk Tammy Vopat said. That provides her staff a short break, after Tuesday's voter registration deadline.

“We had a little bit of activity during the morning, but it ended real quietly,” Vopat said.

But Wednesday was not a complete day off, as the Lyon County staff worked on voting by mail.

“Those who have applied for a mail ballot already are being mailed,” Vopat said.

The first day of advance voting will take place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in the Anderson Building at the Lyon County Fairgrounds. It will move to Vopat's office next week.

COVID-19 forced changes in the election process in some places last year. But Vopat said nothing different will be necessary this time.

“We don't change things unless we absolutely have to,” she said. “I think that's confusing to the voters.”

The focus this year will be on local races. Those votes used to occur in April, but the Kansas Legislature changed the date several years ago to make things consistent.

“We have an election every November, every year,” Pretzer said.

“I would say, perhaps, it's a little bit more” in terms of turnout, Vopat said.

“It's a very important election,” Pretzer added. “We elect our local leaders, our school board leaders... our infrastructure in the county.”

In Chase County, that means 10 positions in various school boards. Strong City will elect a mayor and three open city council seats. 

The Lyon County ballot includes three seats on the Emporia City Commission and three at-large places on the Emporia school board. Mayoral positions also are open in Americus, Bushong, Neosho Rapids and Reading.

Proper identification must be displayed to vote in person. The rules for that are posted at the Kansas Secretary of State's website.

Pretzer noted a box for dropping off mailed ballots is available behind the Chase County Courthouse around the clock. Such boxes caused a controversy in the 2020 Presidential election, when then-President Trump called them a “voter security disaster.”

Both Lyon and Chase Counties have special questions on the ballot this fall. Lyon County's issue involves the renewal of a one-percent sales tax. Chase County voters must decide if public businesses can sell liquor by the drink without also selling food.

This article originally ran on emporiagazette.com.

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