The former sheriff’s office/jail building is being converted into a voting location for those wishing to cast advance ballots for the Aug. 4 primary. Advance voting begins Wednesday, July 15.

Advance voting for the Aug. 4 primary began Wednesday, July 15, at the former Miami County Sheriff’s Office, located at 118 S. Pearl St. in Paola.

The former sheriff’s office was selected — instead of the usual site across the street at the Miami County Administration Building — to help mitigate the COVID-19 risk, County Clerk/Election Officer Janet White said. The new voting site was prepped with safety measures and social distancing protocols as the clerk’s office and its volunteer poll workers prepare to handle what could be a record number of voters for an August primary.

July 15 also was the first day ballots were put into the mail. The clerk’s office has received nearly 1,300 requests for mail ballots — more than any other primary in recent memory. The deadline to apply for advance ballots to be mailed is July 28. The clerk's office recommends that people request the ballots now, rather than waiting until the July 28 deadline, to ensure they are returned to the clerk's office in time to be counted.

With Louisburg and Prairie View school bond elections on the Tuesday, Aug. 4, ballot, as well as two contested races for state House seats and one county office, White is anticipating a larger in-person turnout for the primary as well.

Samantha Poetter and Clifford Blackmore, both Paola Republicans, will meet in the primary for the House District 6 race to fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Jene Vickrey, who chose not to run for reelection. The Louisburg Republican served 28 years in the House.

In House District 5 primary, incumbent Rep. Mark Samsel, a Wellsville Republican, will face Garnett Republican Mark Powls.

Incumbent White, a Beagle Republican, will face challenger Matthew Mercer, a Republican from Louisburg, for the County Clerk’s office in the primary.

The clerk’s office is offering additional hours and extending hours in an effort to minimize the need for lines at the polling site to also help mitigate the COVID-19 risk, White said.

The advance voting location will be open during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Friday, July 31.

The advance voting site also will be open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays, July 18, July 25 and Aug. 1.

The location also will remain open after business hours until 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, and Thursday, July 30. Advance voting will be available the day before the primary from 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Aug. 3.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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