Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Election Commissioner: New Equipment, More iPads Needed

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Election Commissioner: New Equipment, More iPads Needed

Article excerpt

Responding to long lines and late election returns, Shawnee County election commissioner Andrew Howell on Wednesday acknowledged the county needs more iPads at polling places -- and he plans to buy some within the next year.

The election office also plans to purchase some new, much-needed voting equipment next year by issuing certificates of participation, he said. Some of the existing equipment has outlived its life expectancy by more than eight years, he said.

"Every election, it's worse," Howell said. "It's getting to where we're stacking issues on top of issues.

"I'm not happy that we're not able to report quicker than we do," he added later. "The additional equipment and poll pads should make a big difference in 2015, but we're just not there yet."

Multiple people Tuesday contacted The Topeka Capital-Journal, elected officials and the election office after encountering hour- plus waits at several polling stations, despite most of the individual polling stations being empty.

Some people reported watching people leave without voting instead of waiting in the lines of 50 to 75 people.

Voter turnout Tuesday was about on par with midterm general elections county and statewide.

Adding in the 1,374 provisional ballots in Shawnee County, voter turnout could be as high as 64,249 -- or 60.6 percent of the county's 106,042 registered voters.

Statewide, 843,440 -- or 48.5 percent of registered voters -- voted in the gubernatorial race, according to unofficial results posted on the Kansas Secretary of State website. Those figures don't include provisional ballots.

Midterm elections in Kansas historically have brought out about 50 percent of the state's registered voters, while Shawnee County's voter turnout generally climbs into the 60 percent range.

Most people who reported long waits in Shawnee County attributed the lines to there being only one iPad to scan identifications. …

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