Last day to register to vote in 4th District special election

Kansans living in the fourth congressional district have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to register to vote in a special election to pick a representative for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The special election became necessary when the U.S. Senate confirmed former Rep. Mike Pompeo as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Pompeo resigned from his position as 4th District Congressman on Jan. 23.

Election Day for the special election takes place April 11. Residents of the 4th District will choose Republican Ron Estes, Democrat James Thompson or Libertarian Chris Rockhold to represent Kansas in the House.

Prospective voters can register to vote in the special election on Tuesday, the deadline to register, online or in-person. As long as online registration is processed by 11:59 p.m., it will be accepted, said Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner. For those sending in an application by mail, the application needs postmarked by Tuesday to be accepted.

Lehman said the Sedgwick County election office is seeing registration similar to a year ago, when the state hosted caucuses for the 2016 General Election.

“We are just not seeing a significant increase, really, in registration or applications for advanced voting at this point,” she said.

Counties in the 4th District will begin mailing advanced voting ballots Wednesday. In-person advanced voting begins March 27. Sedgwick County has 16 locations, including the Sedgwick County Election Office in downtown Wichita.

The last day to request a mail-in ballot is April 7, the Friday before the election.

“We strongly, strongly recommend people do not wait that long,” Lehman said. “There have been changes in the way the post office delivers mail now. It takes significantly longer. That’s just the way it is because they don’t sort mail on the weekends anymore. If you ask for that ballot on Friday, it’s most likely you won’t even receive it by Election Day, so don’t wait that long.”

Since the special election happens during an off-calendar election year, voter turnout will likely not be as high, Lehman said. Kansas has not had a special congressional election in 67 years, Lehman said, which also makes it difficult to gauge voter turnout.

“Those other markers we’re looking at, phone call volume, our ballot-by-mail request, voter registration numbers, they’re just not hitting the numbers we’d expect for a large turnout,” she said.

Raising awareness about the special election is something Lehman hopes will happen to ensure a high voter turnout.

“Make sure your neighbors know,” she said. “Make sure your friends know and encourage them to get out and vote.”

To register to vote online, click here. To check your voter registration status and find your polling location, click here. For other election information, click here.