Deputy clerk Bobbi Dreiling, a Republican, successfully defeated the write-in campaign of Democratic candidate Laura Allen on Tuesday, becoming Ellis County’s next county clerk.
According to unofficial results released Tuesday night by the Ellis County Election Office, Dreiling garnered 11,159 of the 11,888 votes cast in the race for county clerk. The preliminary results indicated there were 729 write-in votes.
Allen launched her write-in campaign because she felt voters deserved a choice in a race that hasn’t been contested since 2008, according to previous reporting by The Hays Daily News. With Allen’s loss, the position of county clerk will be handed down to the next person in line.
Dreiling is expected to step into the county clerk role in January, replacing current County Clerk Donna Maskus, who is retiring after 41 years in that office.
"I’m excited about it," Dreiling said of stepping into the new role.
She has served as Maskus’ deputy clerk for almost eight years and said she has learned a lot while in that position.
"I’ve learned how to do the tax role. I’ve learned how to run elections. I’ve done all the accounts payable," Dreiling said. "Those are the big, main things."
Maskus said the county clerk’s office will be in good hands.
"She’s been my deputy, my right-hand person," Maskus said. "She’s ready to step right in there."
As county clerk, Dreiling will also serve as election officer, and she hopes to maintain the high voter turnout seen in this year’s general election.
Preliminary results indicated nearly 71% of registered Ellis County voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election, surpassing the 67% voter turnout seen in 2016 and the 65% voter turnout seen in 2012.
As of about midday Wednesday, the United States Election Project was estimating a national voter turnout this year of almost 67%. And according to unofficial results on the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office’s website, more than 1.3 millions Kansas voters cast ballots Tuesday, representing an estimated voter turnout statewide of about 68%.
More than 34% of this year’s votes in Ellis County were cast via absentee ballot. In 2016, only about 8% of registered voters requested a mail-in ballot, according to previous reporting by The Daily News.
"It feels grand. It really does," Maskus said of the high voter turnout. "People have been so good about waiting. There were lines today. There have been lines through the advance voting. ... They’ve been real patient with it, and it’s just a great turnout. People have taken the time to exercise that right."
Also on the ballot in Ellis County on Tuesday were two county commission races.
In District 2, Republican Neal Younger ran unopposed and received 3,665 votes.
In District 3, Republican incumbent Dean Haselhorst defeated Democratic challenger Lisa Boyd 3,556 votes to 991.
In the race for county treasurer, Republican Vernon Ruder Jr. won against Democratic opponent Julie Mercer. Ruder received 8,517 votes to Mercer’s 2,871. There were also 1,528 write-in votes in that race, as incumbent Lisa Schlegel launched a write-in campaign after losing to Ruder in the Republican primary.
Republican Rebecca Herzog was elected Ellis County’s register of deeds. She ran unopposed and received 11,406 votes.
Republican Robert Anderson Jr. ran unopposed in the race for Ellis County district attorney, receiving 11,334 votes.
And Scott Braun, also a Republican, ran unopposed in the race for Ellis County sheriff, receiving 11,692 votes.
Local numbers in state, national races
In the U.S. presidential election, the U.S. Senate battle and the 1st Congressional District race, Ellis County voters overwhelmingly backed Republican candidates.
Statewide, about 57% of Kansans cast their ballots in the U.S. presidential race for Republican incumbent President Donald Trump, according to unofficial results available on the Secretary of State’s Office’s website. But in Ellis County, nearly 71% of voters backed Trump, according to the county’s election office.
In the U.S. Senate battle between Republican Roger Marshall and Democrat Barbara Bollier, Marshall garnered 54% of the vote statewide to Bollier’s 41%. Libertarian Jason Buckley received 5%. In Ellis County, Marshall received nearly 68% of the vote.
Ellis County voters reflected statewide numbers in the race to represent Kansas’ 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Across the district, Republican Tracey Mann received 72% of the vote, compared to Democrat Kali Barnett’s 28% — about the same percentage points reported locally Tuesday by the Ellis County Election Office.