Chance Swaim, a George Polk Award winning investigative reporter, has been with The Eagle since 2018. You may contact him at 316-269-6752 and [email protected]
Facebook CEO’s money could boost Wichita-area elections
Sedgwick County is turning to private funds to help run its 2020 election.
Sedgwick County, the second-largest county in Kansas by population, has been awarded $816,458 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit foundation, to boost the efforts of the county election office to hold an election in the midst of the pandemic. The money comes from a $250 million donation by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan.
The billionaire married couple said in a news release that they hope the money helps “ensure that every voter who intends to cast a ballot is able to, and ultimately, to preserve the integrity of our elections.”
The additional money could help the county install ballot drop boxes, recruit and train poll workers, pay for polling places for early voting and Election Day, hire temporary staff in the election office and put out voting information in languages other than English.
Pursuing the grant was the idea of Commissioner Lacey Cruse, who alerted county officials that the deadline was fast approaching.
“I researched this opportunity to make sure it was legitimate and decided it was something we should absolutely pursue,” Cruse said.
Sedgwick County was awarded the grant within four hours of applying, Cruse said.
“These funds will help the county provide a safe and efficient November election,“ she said.
“While I was the one who received word first of this grant opportunity, this was truly a team effort and only made possible because our staff understands the importance of working together,” she said.
Deadlines to register, request ballots
The last day to register to vote in Kansas is Oct. 13.
To find out if you’re registered and where to vote, visit myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView. Voters may register online at https://www.kdor.ks.gov/apps/voterreg/Default.aspx. For assistance, call the county election office at 316-660-7100.
Requests for absentee ballots are due Oct. 27, although because of recent delays with mail delivery, voters who wish to vote by mail are encouraged to apply for an absentee ballot as soon as possible. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3.
Early in-person voting runs from Oct. 19 – Nov. 2 at locations throughout the county.
To avoid crowds that could spread COVID-19, the Sedgwick County Election Office has purchased 14 ballot drop boxes with CARES Act funding passed through the Secretary of State’s Office. Mail-in ballots may be dropped in those boxes until 7 p.m. on Election Day when the polls close.
The drop boxes are available at several outdoor locations throughout the county:
Boston Recreation Center, 6655 E. Zimmerly
Evergreen Park Recreation Center, 2700 N. Woodland
Linwood Recreation Center, 1901 S. Kansas
Orchard Recreation Center, 4808 W. Ninth St.
Sedgwick County Courthouse, 525 N. Main
Sedgwick County Health Department, 1900 E. Ninth St.
Bel Aire City Hall, 7651 E. Central Park
Haysville Police Department – Court Services, 200 W. Grand
Valley Center City Hall, 121 S. Meridian
Clearwater City Hall, 129 E. Ross
Maize City Administration, 10100 W. Grady
Derby Public Library, 1600 E. Walnut Grove Road
Fire Station 35, 1535 S. 199th St. West
Fire Station 32, 7750 Wild West Road