Voter turnout

Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners

A total of about 60,000 Kansas Citians voted in yesterday’s municipal elections, according to turnout figures from election boards. Kansas City voters in Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties approved $800 million in general obligation bonds, a one-eighth cent sales tax for development on the city’s east side and lessened penalties for marijuana possession.

Shawn Kieffer from the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners says he’s disappointed with the 18 percent turnout from Jackson County.

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR 89.3

By 7 a.m Tuesday, the line for voting at All Souls Church in midtown Kansas City had more than 100 people in it.

Numerous other polling places around the metro reported a similar early morning rush, especially in Missouri, where there was no early voting period as in Kansas.

"I was expecting to wait, and I'm glad to wait," said Linda Rives, a voter who waited at All Souls. "Sometimes I come here, and you can walk right in. There's hardly anybody here [other elections], but I'm excited to see such long lines today. It means people are participating." 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

If you think there seems to be a lot of early voters this year, you're right. 

In the first week or so of advanced in-person voting, Kansas counties in the metro area are experiencing numbers that suggest records could be broken. 

"I never thought we'd surpass 2008," says Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew. 

That year, when Barack Obama beat John McCain, many precincts across the nation saw historic overall turnout. But this year, Shew and others suspect new early voting benchmarks could be set. 

With Donald Trump urging supporters to watch for instances of voter fraud, we find out how the Jackson County Election Board ensures fair and free voting. Then, a 1938 Supreme Court ruling forced the University of Missouri Law School to accept black students, or create a separate school for them. The litigant, Lloyd Gaines, disappeared soon after, but his case made history.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansans who register to vote using a federal form at the Department of Motor Vehicles will have to provide proof of citizenship as a lawsuit plays out, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The League of Women Voters and other civil rights groups had sought a preliminary injunction to block such rules in Kansas, Alabama and Georgia.

“Because it’s a barrier to voting,” says Dolores Furtado, the immediate past president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “The percentage of eligible registered people that vote is sometimes terrible.”