League of Women Voters, now 100, urges use of mail ballots

By Carole Neal and Barbara Bell
The League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro expected a busy 2020. In addition to being an election year, it’s the 100th anniversary of the LWV and the 19th Amendment, which granted women’s suffrage. What we didn’t expect was COVID-19.
The LWV works very hard to reach out to the community to register voters and encourage them to vote. Our usual in-person outreach has been curtailed in many ways. We’ve been unable to go to schools and other community gatherings as much as we would normally do. We have participated with the Wichita Community Voting Coalition in car caravans to promote voter registration, gone to Naturalization Ceremonies to pick up registrations for new citizens and deliver them to the Election Office, and registered people at rallies. We’ll continue to explore all options to reach citizens. 
Because of COVID-19, Secretary of State Scott Schwab and the LWV both strongly encourage citizens to consider voting by mail. It’s easy and safe to do from home. Each citizen must request an advance ballot. The last day to request an advance voting ballot is Oct. 27. Once you receive your ballot, it must be postmarked by election day, Nov. 3, to be counted. Because of possible delays in postal service, don’t dawdle. Request your advance ballot, then mark your ballot, sign the outside of the ballot and mail as soon as you can. The Kansas ballot envelope only needs one stamp, despite what you may have heard.  
If you haven’t already requested an advance ballot, don’t despair. Using the website ksvotes.org will allow you to register to vote, check your registration, make name or address changes if needed, and allow you to request an advance ballot easily. Oct. 13 is the last day to register to vote for the general election.
If you want more information on the candidates, go to vote411.org to find out who is running in your area and what their positions on important issues are.  
You can play a role also. If you have a friend or relative who is not registered, or is unable or reluctant to go to the polls, give them the information they need to vote safely. You may know someone in a senior living center, or lives alone. Reach out and offer help.  
The mission of the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro is to empower voters and defend democracy. Our vision is a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate. Consider joining – it is a nonpartisan organization open to all women and men.  
Remember, your vote is your voice.
Carole Neal and Barbara Bell are Voter Service Co-Chairs of the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro.

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