Sedgwick County Election Commissioner talks long lines, high turnout and other Election Day issues
SHANNON COUNTY, Mo. (KAKE) - After voters in Sedgwick County experienced issues including long lines on the day of the Aug. 2 primary, local leaders are already discussing solutions.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Angela Caudillo said because of high voter turnout, some polling locations did experience a staffing shortage. Over 90,000 people showed up to vote in person on Election Day in Sedgwick County.
“If yesterday's numbers end up being like a typical presidential, general election, then yes, we could have used more staff,” Caudillo said.
Caudillo said there were between 500 and 600 election workers for this primary. For a general election, her office would need 800.
“This is unprecedented,” she said. “We did have shortages in a couple of sites. As soon as we're made aware of shortages, if we have additional election workers in the requested…we do send them out. And, we did deploy several, but we did have a handful of last-minute call outs as well.”
Several Sedgwick County Commissioners brought up Election Day hiccups during the board’s meeting Wednesday. Some of the issues discussed included long lines at Linwood Recreation Center and election workers turning voters away at one polling place in Maize.
“If we need additional training, you know, I want to work with her to make sure that she has everything that she needs to run a successful general election,” Commissioner Lacey Cruse said.
Caudillo said her office believes two election workers turned away up to 150 voters at Maize Recreation Center about 20 minutes before the polls closed. She said the decision was wrong and not made in conjunction with her office.
“I was getting feedback all night from staff, letting us know what the issues were going on,” Commissioner David Dennis said. “When I heard about the issues over at Maize that concerned me a lot.”
The Secretary of State is in charge of the election commissioner. However, some Sedgwick County Commissioners said they are willing to do whatever is needed to help their voters.
Caudillo said, to alleviate long lines, her office is considering adding new polling places and redistributing workers. She also said that she’s met with commissioners to ask them about including a raise for election workers in their next budget.
“All of the things that went wrong, definitely, voter engagement, voter participation, voter turnout went right,” Caudillo said. “If there's anything we can do to alleviate long lines, we'll look at that.”