Kansas’ most populous county left the rest of the state waiting nearly 13 hours until Wednesday morning for complete primary election results that proved to be pivotal in a high profile and close Republican race for governor — the second consecutive major election fumble by the affluent Kansas City-area county. “I’m embarrassed for our county,” Johnson County election commissioner Ronnie Metsker told The Kansas City Star . “It’s embarrassing for our office, it’s embarrassing for me, for our team and for the vendor.” In an odd twist, one of the candidates in the tight GOP race for governor, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is also the statewide official responsible for elections. Under Kansas law, the secretary of state appoints the top elections officials in the four most populous counties, including Metsker in Johnson County. Kobach quickly came to his colleague’s defense and said the delays were not Metsker’s fault.
Kobach was leading Gov. Jeff Colyer by fewer than 200 votes after Johnson County’s results were finally tallied, and the race has not yet been called.
“There certainly were problems, including with the voting machines and things like that, but I have no reason to believe that there was orchestrated, or even unorchestrated, mischief,” said Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas.
Metsker and other officials blamed the problems on long lines and delays updating data from the computer thumb drives that gather results from Johnson County’s new voting machines. This was the first election using those machines, which provide a paper audit trail and purportedly encompass the latest technology.
Full Article: Kansas’ most populous county fumbles 2nd major election.