November 3, 2020
Today is the last day to vote; tomorrow we continue to all be Americans
Submitted by Timothy J. Shaffer
Today is the last day to vote. If you are unsure about where you are registered to vote, you can find out about your polling place. Kansas law requires polling places to open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. State law allows Kansas counties to open polling locations as early as 6 a.m. and close as late as 8 p.m., so make sure you check your specific county for details about the extended time frames. If you happen to be registered in another state and can vote in person, you can find your polling location based on your registration address.
If you requested an advance ballot and have not returned it already, you can return it in person to the Riley County Office Building. There is a secure location within the County Clerk and Elections Office as well as outside of the building. You can also return your advance ballot to any polling place today, Nov. 3. It does not need to be where you are registered to vote. Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 3, and received no later than Friday, Nov. 6, by close of business. It is recommended to return your completed ballot in person, if possible, to ensure it is received and counted.
Once you submit your ballot, you can utilize the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy's resource page to better understand what we can expect immediately from this election and what will take a little longer. Additionally, you can learn about the ways that news organizations observe the vote count in real time and are able to make projections. Importantly, elections are not decided on the night of the election or even by the next morning. The dates vary by state, but Kansas does not certify election results until Dec. 1.
The Election Coverage and Democracy Network recommends that media and citizens, “Do not amplify false claims about the process of voting or the outcome by candidates, political parties, or other strategic political interests.” Instead of sharing misinformation, only amplify election officials as this election cycle will take longer given the high number of voters choosing to cast ballots through mail ballots. Votes are votes, regardless of how they have been cast.
The Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy also has resources for post-election discussions, whether they take place virtually or in person, that may be relevant to your classes or your workplace. Free and fair elections are essential elements of democracy. They should be opportunities for ideas to be challenged, but they are not moments for violence. The institute affirms our Principles of Community: “We affirm the right of each person to freely express thoughts and opinions in a spirit of civility and decency. We believe that diversity of views enriches our learning environment, and we promote open expression within a climate of courtesy, sensitivity, and mutual respect.”
Let’s practice this principle in our communities and beyond. Make sure you have your voice heard and vote in this election.