Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Friday his office has completed its investigation and found that understaffing and undertraining were the primary causes of vote-counting problems in the November election in Sedgwick County. Kobach said he will recommend that county officials increase the number of employees at the election office, which is significantly understaffed compared to the offices in Johnson, Wyandotte and Shawnee counties. Johnson County has the largest election staff with 15 full-time employees and four part-time. Sedgwick County has three full-time and six part-time, the report said.
In addition to more staffing, Kobach’s task force recommended that all the employees who work in the vote-counting operation go through an intensive training program on how to use their software.
Kobach said Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman will probably need to go to the Sedgwick County Commission for more money for staffing. Lehman could not be reached for comment late Friday and her e-mail indicated she will be out of the office until after Christmas.
County Commission Chairman Tim Norton said the county has always been amenable to funding requests from Lehman and her predecessors, Bill Gale and Marilyn Chapman.
“I don’t know that we’ve ever stonewalled them on what they need or their staffing,” Norton said. He said different types of elections require different numbers of workers and the county sends some of its staff to help out on and around election days.
“We try to be good partners,” he said.