Schodorf calling for Kobach to fire Sedgwick Co. Elections Commissioner

WICHITA, Kansas – Jean Schodorf, the Democratic candidate for Kansas Secretary of State, called on her opponent, Kris Kobach, to fire Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman.  It all stems over several blunders submitted as part of a petition to decriminalize marijuana.

Last Friday, Lehman’s office rejected the petition after it failed to meet the required amount of signatures.

Lehman announced the miscalculated results to the public. It contained an incorrect total due to an error in numbers. Her office later corrected it.

KSN Photo
The Sedgwick County Elections Office provided this copy to KSN showing the denial of the marijuana petition. It also contained an error in numbers. (KSN Photo)

On Tuesday, KSN learned from Lehman’s office that there was at least one petition page that got caught in a scanner and was later found.

Lehman stated that the uncounted pages did not contain enough signatures to change the outcome of the previous decision.

Esau Freeman, with Kansas for Change, spoke about Lehman and her job before the Sedgwick County Commission meeting on Wednesday.

“We were appalled to find that there were sheets missing from the final count that had been turned into the city clerk. We were able to determine it because we photocopied all of the petitions before we turned them in,” said Freeman.

Commissioner Dave Unruh responded to Freeman.

“I just want to make sure you understand that the election commissioner’s officer is under the authority and responsibility of the secretary of state, we don’t have direct authority over it other than funding,” said Unruh.

To see the Petitions-Verification-Chart, click here.

Schodorf is calling the actions into question.

“I demand that Secretary of State Kobach dismiss Tabitha Lehman immediately on the basis of incompetence and gross misconduct. Her repeated blunders show a lack of ability to perform the duties she is required to do in her position to ensure safe and secure elections in Kansas,” said Jean Schodorf, candidate for Kansas Secretary of State.

Schodorf also cites other grounds to justify Lehman’s firing:

Tabitha Lehman speaks before the media on primary election day. (KSN File Photo)
Tabitha Lehman speaks before the media on primary election day. (KSN File Photo)
  • Inability to perform simple mathematical calculations
  • Lack of security, including sensitive personal information that every Kansas voter must submit to be considered a valid citizen
  • Performing the duties of counting votes and signatures of a petition behind closed doors and out of public view, a practice not conducted by other county elections offices around the state
  • Registration errors on Election Day and failure to correct errors for two years.
  • Delayed election results

Secretary of State Kris Kobach responded to Schodorf’s claims:

“Jean Schodorf is being extremely hypocritical, pointing the finger at a public servant who has been working overtime to get the signature count right, and who immediately corrected minor errors. Yet, Schodorf made a mistake earlier this year by accidentally sending fundraising requests to lobbyists during the legislative session against Kansas law, and she wants everyone to ignore her error.”

To read the media release on behalf of Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman, click here.

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