Early votes coming in record numbers in Pratt County

Fran Brownell and Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Pratt County Clerk and Election Officer Lori Voss processes mail-in ballots for the 2020 Election in her courthouse office. Early voter activity at the courthouse is plentiful as those who wish to avoid long lines on November 3, exercise their civic duty.

Even cold wind and swirling snow has not deterred early voters in Pratt County from casting their votes for the 2020 election.

As of noon Monday, October 26, more than 900 early ballots had been cast, with 612 mail-in ballots returned and 322 early in-person votes filed, according to Pratt County Clerk Lori Voss.

“This is the busiest year I’ve seen,” said Voss, who has worked through the past four general elections, dating back to 2004.

Though there are no contested local races, national and state selections have propelled many Pratt County voters to take advantage of both early voting and mail-in ballot options for the 2020 general election

“Interest in this election is running high,” Voss said. “There’s not anything in my memory that compares to this election.”

Of the 5,292 registered voters in Pratt County, the party breakdown is Republican—3,680, Democrat—792, Libertarian—67 and unaffiliated – 753.

Early voting at the courthouse will continue through Monday, November 2, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.., Voss said, and the courthouse will also be open for early voting on Saturday, October 31, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Pratt County voters had until Tuesday, October 27, to request a mail-in ballot and those ballot must be brought to the courthouse by election day or postmarked on or before November 3. Postage of $1.20 is required for mail-in ballots. 

Voss said the drop-off collection box for mail-in ballots, placed on the north side alcove of the Pratt County Courthouse on the west side of the door, has also been very busy.

“I check that box at least three times a day and there is always a stack of  ballots to collect,” Voss said. 

Ballots placed in the drop box do not require postage, Voss said.

Ballots should be submitted in the mail-in envelope provided, however, regardless of whether they are mailed or turned in at the courthouse.

Voss said voters may complete mail-in ballots with either pencil or pen.

Early ballots are not being counted until the polls close at 7 p.m., Tuesday, November 3, according to Voss.

On November 3, 2020, the official election day, in-person votes may be cast at the Pratt Community Center, 619 N. Main (Wards 1-5), and at Pratt Church of Christ (320 Country Club Road (Townships 6-12).

The hours of voting in Pratt County, Kansas will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On the local ballot, three names are listed for Pratt City Commission seats with instruction to vote for two, but incumbent commissioner Jason Leslie has publically indicated that he is not running for his seat on the city commission again. The other two names on the ballot for two positions open are Jeanette Siemens and Kyle Farmer. Current commissioner Doug Meyer has also declared he is not running for re-election.