Voter registration has closed and advance voting for the Nov. 5 election started Wednesday. Barton County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said advance voting will continue during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Monday, Nov. 4, at the Barton County Courthouse.
Any registered voter can vote by mail or in person prior to election day. To vote by mail, voters should contact their county election officer and request an advance ballot application.
This week Zimmerman’s office mailed 250 ballots to people who are on the permanent advanced voters list and automatically get a ballot for each election. Applicants for permanent advance voting status must have a permanent physical disability or illness.
As of Thursday, Zimmerman’s office had also mailed an additional 27 ballots to Barton County residents for this election, as well as 10 ballots to Stafford County residents who are eligible to vote for Great Bend USD 428 or Ellinwood USD 355 school board candidates.
Zimmerman noted that there may be some write-in candidates this year and it is always possible to write in a candidate’s name, whether using a paper ballot or the electronic ExpressVote marking devices that will be available at polling places and are at the courthouse now.
“We’ve seen signs in Great Bend, and a lady asked about write-in votes for the mayor of Galatia,” she said. Furthermore, the Barton Community College Board of Trustees has three open positions this year but only two names on the ballot.
People who use paper ballots will have a line available to write in a name for each position. Those who use the electronic equipment will also be able to choose a write-in option; a keypad will come up that will allow them to type a name.
“On paper ballots, the image will be captured so that we can look at it,” she said.
“None of the above” or fictitious names such as “Mickey Mouse” commonly appear as write-ins on ballots but they aren’t counted, Zimmerman said. However, a real individual’s name does not have to have to be written exactly the same way on every ballot in order to be counted.
“We go by the voter’s intent,” she said. Election boards of two or four individuals will look at write-in votes, and if the intention is clear a vote will be counted. If the intention is not clear for a particular race, then it won’t be counted, although other races on the ballot can still be counted.
Write-in candidates for any office are subject to the regular campaign finance reporting requirements of the office for which they are running.