The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to get the names of Johnson County voters who cast provisional ballots in the August primary. The ACLU also wants a list of voters in the county who cast advance mail ballots that were rejected because their signature didn’t match their voter record. The lawsuit comes after a tumultuous Republican primary election for gov rnor that exposed sometimes-subjective vote counting. Some Kansas counties counted ballots that would have been tossed out in others in a race between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer that was decided by fewer than 350 votes. “We aren’t asking to see who they voted for or any private information,” said Lauren Bonds, the ACLU of Kansas’ legal director, in a statement. “That information should be afforded the utmost privacy. However, people should know whether their vote counted or if people faced any unnecessary barriers to voting. The public interest here is just transparency.”
The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Davis Hammet, president of civic engagement organization Loud Light. The lawsuit filed in Johnson County District Court names Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker as the defendant.
A call to Metsker on Tuesday was not returned. Hammet filed an open records request in August for the information. The county denied the request.
A copy of the lawsuit includes Hammet’s correspondence with Cynthia Dunham, the deputy director of the county’s legal department, in which the two tangle over whether the records are required to be released. In emails with Hammet, she wrote that the names of voters who voted provisionally are not required to be disclosed.