Early voting for Kansans ended at noon Monday, and it appears that about half of the electorate in Johnson County voted before Election Day.
"It's packed," Johnson County election commissioner Brian Newby said Monday as his office in Olathe saw one last surge in the final hour before the close of advance voting. "It looks like the parking lot during a Chiefs game."
Of course, he meant game day at Arrowhead Stadium before the Chiefs' 2012 swoon, but you get the idea.
Missouri voters didn't have that option. Unless they voted absentee, Missourians who want to cast a ballot in this year's election have no choice but to show up at the polls between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The percentage of Kansas voters casting early ballots has been growing in recent presidential elections.
In 2008, 36.8 percent of ballots counted in Kansas were cast before Election Day. It was a little lower than that in Wyandotte County, 33.7 percent. In Johnson County, it was 51 percent.
We won't know until Tuesday night how 2012 is going to stack up. But Newby predicts a small decline this year in the total number of advance votes and what percentage they will make up of the total.
One reason is that there are no statewide races this year and the 3rd District congressional race hasn't stirred up much passion. That means political campaigns in Kansas were less likely to have engaged in aggressive efforts to encourage early voting.
The upshot is that Newby estimates an overall turnout of 68 to 70 percent, as opposed to 80 percent four years ago, with advance voting accounting for less than half of votes cast.
His counterpart in Wyandotte County, Bruce Newby, also saw less advance voting this year than in 2008, but he doesn't think that will weigh down overall turnout.
"I fully expect those people to show up at the polls," he said, referring to people who voted early last time but chose not to in 2012.
Kansas' secretary of state, Kris Kobach, predicts that 1.2 million people in the state will cast ballots. That's the same as in 2008, when the turnout was 72 percent.
Missouri's secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, predicts that 72 percent of the state's 4 million registered voters will cast ballots. Four years ago, 69 percent did.
Missourians had until last Wednesday to request an absentee ballot. The deadline for voting absentee in person was 5 p.m. Monday, although notarized mail ballots will be accepted as long as they are received by the time the polls close Tuesday.