ELECTION DAY

Fewer polls to be open Tuesday in Johnson and Wyandotte counties

Updated: 2013-02-26T06:39:20Z

By KAREN DILLON

The Kansas City Star

If you waited until today to vote in primaries on the Kansas side, you’ll find that polling places have been severely limited because of the expected snowstorm.

But some polls will be open, and some poll judges even stayed overnight just to be there when doors open at 7 a.m.

Only five of 30 polls will be open in Wyandotte County and six in Johnson County, down from about 28, election officials said.

On Monday, state and local officials were considering all options to cope with an overnight storm they knew would be coming, including asking the courts to change the election date. They finally decided to extend advance voting on Monday by seven hours and to keep a limited number of polls open today.

Voting dates are set by law and cannot be changed except with a court order.

“We have never had anything like this before,” said Brian Newby, Johnson County election commissioner.

The primary elections on the Kansas side are for candidates in local government, including city councils and school boards. Big races include those for mayor in Kansas City, Kan., and Roeland Park.

Until Monday, few Johnson County voters had taken advantage of the advance voting option, said Sarah Horn, a spokeswoman. But by midafternoon, more than 200 had voted.

“We had a bunch, which is probably good,” Horn said.

Likewise, lines at the Wyandotte County election office at 850 State Ave. were out the door most of the afternoon Monday with a similar number of voters.

Today, both election offices will be open for voting.

The polls in Wyandotte that are open besides the election office will be the National Guard Armory; Indian Springs Mall; Open Door Baptist Church, 3033 N. 103rd Terrace; and the Edwardsville Community Center.

Those polls will be open to all voters in Wyandotte County, said Bruce Newby, Wyandotte County election commissioner.

Johnson County polling locations besides the election office at 2101 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe, will be:

• Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Drive, for Fairway Ward 4 voters and Roeland Park voters.

• Central Church of the Nazarene, 12600 W. 87th St. Parkway, for Lenexa Ward 3 voters.

• Merriam Christian Church, 9401 Johnson Drive, for Merriam Ward 2 and Shawnee Ward 2 voters.

• Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 7851 W. 119th St., Overland Park.

• Village Shalom, 5500 W. 123rd St., Overland Park.

Election officials said the consolidation was necessary to reduce the number of poll judges needed.

Bruce Newby in Wyandotte County said he was concerned about the poll workers getting to the polls in the middle of a storm and was trying to work out transportation issues for them. Their average age is about 72, and many workers have health issues and use wheelchairs and walkers.

“We are asking them to put their life at risk” for about $100 a day, he said.

Brian Newby in Johnson County said they were putting up cots in the election office and polling places, where election judges and government employees would be spending the night. A couple of employees had opted to stay at a hotel near the election office and would try to make it in using the office’s one four-wheel drive vehicle.

He also said he was asking that a Johnson County sheriff’s deputy deliver the ballots to the election office Tuesday night in case of snowbound streets.

To reach Karen Dillon, call 816-234-4430 or send email to kdillon@kcstar.com.

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