Letter to the editor: Ballot errors call into question election integrity

Laura Allen

As we near the general election, I want to emphasize how important it is for each and every one of us to exercise our right to vote, and to do so, regardless of the incompetence of our current County Clerk’s office.

Yesterday advance ballots began arriving in mailboxes. It was brought to my attention that the Senate races were incorrectly listed.

Instead of a section for Kansas State Senator, there are 2 sections for United States Senator. At the very least, we should have ballots that correctly list the offices for which candidates are running. This can be fixed. As I understand it, the Clerk’s office will have corrected ballots by Monday, October 19. But at what cost? Financially and in confidence? Any remedy now will be at the will of the Secretary of State, who will decide how the incorrect ballots will be handled. It is embarrassing that the state has to specify how to fix the clerk’s error.

After noticing the initial glaring mistake, I looked closer.

Another mistake is that this ballot does not include proper verbiage in the President/Vice President section. The United States of America votes using an Electoral College. Your vote is given to electors, who then cast our state’s votes through the electoral college. Kansas Statute 25-616 specifies that the ballot states we are voting for electors, not for the candidate. The Ellis County Clerk and Deputy Clerk have ignored this requirement completely.

Yet another mistake is that the Clerk’s office employees have initialed the bottom of each ballot. This violates Kansas Statute 25-4608, stating that “a unique mark shall be of such a manner so as not to identify any individual ballot and shall be consistent on every ballot delivered to a voter in the voting place”. Kansas guarantees the right to vote in private. By personalizing ballots with, essentially, their names, the clerk’s office has created the possibility that ballots are identifiable. This is completely unacceptable.

At great expense, these errors can be corrected. But, can you have confidence in your clerk’s office when errors are consistently made? Deputy Clerk Bobbi Dreiling recently offered incorrect information on who was able to vote. How many people has she told, incorrectly, over the past 8 years, they could not vote? How much will it cost the county to reprint these ballots, because your elected officials didn’t proofread? In 2018 voting machines were not calibrated, causing election results to be questioned.

At what point do we say enough is enough? It is time to fix an office riddled with mistakes and constant issues. Write in Laura Allen for Ellis County Clerk. We have an opportunity to make sure our Clerk’s office is run with deference to the law and the citizens it serves.

Our Ellis County Clerk and her Deputy Clerk have continuously jeopardized the integrity of our most basic right to participate in our government. Hold them accountable, and tell them “Enough is enough”. Write in Laura Allen for Ellis County Clerk.

Laura Allen