Potential legal action halts voting in Ellis County

By BRAD DeMERS

Residents of Ellis County were surprised during the weekend when they received their absentee ballots with an error.

More than 4,000 residents received a ballot that had them choose a candidate “For United States Senator 40th District.” The ballots should have read: “For State Senator 40th District.”

It was a costly mistake as the Ellis County Clerk’s office halted in-person advance voting to fix the error.

In the U.S. Senate race, Ellis County residents can vote between Republican Roger Marshall and Democrat Barbara Bollier. The Kansas Senate 40th District race is between Republican Rick Billinger and Democrat Larry Dreiling.

With no immediate information given about halting in-person voting, TMN contacted the Election Department under the Secretary of State on Monday afternoon. An official in the department said potential legal action halted in-person advanced voting Monday and that the Clerk’s office was consulting its legal counsel.

The official also confirmed that all ballots will be counted with or without the error. Residents should feel safe and free to submit an absentee ballot.

TMN also pressed if Ellis County is required to allow more time for advanced voting due to the error. The official stated that Ellis County is in accordance with state law. The law requires counties to open advance in-person voting one week before the election.

On Monday evening, the Ellis County Commission met to discuss county business. During the meeting, County Clerk Donna Maskus told the commissioners there was an error and that the provider the county uses to make the ballots will be fixing the error and sending her office new ballots.

She also stated that all advanced voting in person will be halted until Thursday. On Thursday, new temporary hours will go into effect to accommodate the mishap. Residents can advance vote in person from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

This story will be updated as more information is available.

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