Fourteen candidates are running for six positions in Topeka’s governing body, but before the Topekans elect new council members and a new mayor, two races must go through a primary on August 3.
the District 3 council seat held by incumbent Sylvia Ortiz and the seat of mayor held by outgoing mayor Michelle De La Isla both have five contenders. There is also a primary in the school board race of $ 345.
Here’s what else you need to know about primary elections.
What is the last day to register to vote?
The last day to register to vote is July 13, with postal voting starting the next day. Voter registration will reopen on August 4 for the general election. Applications for registration on the electoral rolls are available on the Shawnee County Election Office website.
What changes has the electoral office undergone recently?
The Election Office purchased a new electronic ballot record system and 306 interface cards and cables for printers to be used in the upcoming elections.
Some electoral equipment was “at the absolute end of its life,” Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said on June 24. None of the purchases are for the equipment people vote on. The poll books keep track of all who are registered to vote while the printer equipment prints “tickets” and has nothing to do with ballots.
Howell said electronic poll books are designed to reduce the time it takes to vote.
The Election Office is also trying to find a new Deputy Election Commissioner after Mark Stock took a new job at Washburn Tech.
“If you don’t work at the polling station, you probably don’t fully appreciate the complexities and all the things that you have to deal with,” Howell said Thursday. “Mark, quite frankly, is one of the best public servants I’ve ever worked with (with). “
Howell said he is working closely with Stock, but is convinced that Stock’s absence will not impact the next election. He said the election office hopes to fill the post as soon as possible.
How can I become a voting agent in Topeka?
The primary election will have just 68 polling stations instead of the roughly 90 locations that county-wide elections might have. Because this is a smaller election, Howell said he was “full enough” for this election but needed more help with the next election.
Those interested in becoming election workers can call 785-251-5900.
“If you have any questions about how it works, the best thing to do is be an election worker,” Howell said. “You can see it firsthand, you get the training, (and) you get the hands-on approach to learning how it’s done and being part of making democracy happen in your community.”
How can I help people register to vote?
Recent changes to state law have raised concerns about how people can help others register to vote. A bill criminalized the impersonation of an election official, which prevented the League of Women Voters and Loud Light from registering voters because the legislation is so vague, the Capital-Journal reported on July 1. Howell said the legislation shouldn’t stop citizens from trying to help people register to vote.
“As long as you don’t somehow identify yourself as an election official, you’re in good shape to register people,” he said. “I encourage people to register to vote.