More people are expected to vote by mail this year, due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Requests for mail ballots is up significantly in both Riley and Pottawatomie counties ahead of the August primary and voter participation is also likely to be high, especially with the presidential election coming.
Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo tells KMAN his office had received 6,183 requests as of Friday. Compared to August 2016, there were 355 votes by mail with a total voter turnout that year of 6,337. Vargo will join Riley County Commissioner Ron Wells Tuesday for an elections update on KMAN’s In Focus.
Pottawatomie County Clerk Nancy McCarter tells KMAN her office had received 2,170 requests as of Friday. In 2016, McCarter says she only mailed approximately 345 ballots. That number was 574 during the 2018 primary.
Tuesday is the final day to register to vote ahead of the Aug. 4 primary. Advance voting by mail and in-person begins on Wednesday and continues until noon on Aug. 3.
Members of the Manhattan chapter of Black Lives Matter will also be hosting a voter registration drive Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pilgrim Baptist Church. All attendees will be required to wear a mask and they are implementing social distancing at the event.