Commissioners discuss election

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A day after a local primary election, a Leavenworth County commissioner was praising how elections are conducted in the county.

"We follow the law, and we have good elections here," Commissioner Mike Stieben said.

His comments came Wednesday during a County Commission meeting.

A day earlier, the County Clerk's Office conducted a primary election for races for the Leavenworth City Commission and Lansing Board of Education.

County Clerk Janet Klasinski appeared before the County Commission on Wednesday to ask the chairman to randomly select voting precincts to be audited.

Klasinski, who serves as the county's chief election officer, said these type of election audits are required by a state law that went into effect about two years ago.

Klasinski asked Commission Chairman Mike Smith to draw the name of a precinct from each of the two local primary races from a box. She said the ballots from these two precincts will be hand counted by an impartial board of four people.

Klasinski said the audit is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. today at the County Clerk's Office, which is located at the Leavenworth County Courthouse, 300 Walnut St.

"The public can attend if they want to," she said.

She said vote totals from manual audits of previous elections have matched the vote counts of the county's election machines.

Stieben said the use of the manual audits is a great system.

County Administrator Mark Loughry acknowledged there was a problem Tuesday evening with the initial reporting on the county's website of votes from the primary election.

Vote counts began appearing on the website after polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Loughry said the names of primary candidates initially were placed on the website in alphabetical order. As returns were reported on the website, the order in which the candidates were listed was supposed to change based on who had received the most votes.

But the names initially were left in alphabetical order as initial returns were reported on the website. This resulted with vote totals not being correctly aligned with candidates.

Loughry said information technology staff corrected the problem as soon as it was brought to their attention.

"It was just a mistake by the staff posting it on the website," he said.

Commissioner Vicky Kaaz said the problem was immediately corrected.

Smith said he hopes the problem will not occur again.

"IT has to get that right," he said.

The results of Tuesday's primary election will be unofficial until they are certified by the county's Board of Canvassers. Members of the County Commission serve as the Board of Canvassers.

Klasinski said commissioners will canvass the election results when they meet at 9 a.m. Aug. 11 at the courthouse.

According to Klasinski, voter turnout for the two local primary races totaled 12.98%.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Voted to authorize county staff to work with representatives of Charter Communications to apply for a federal grant for funding to extend broadband internet capabilities to underserved areas of Leavenworth County.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said Charter Communications, which owns the Spectrum cable and internet provider, is seeking the grant, but it requires a governmental sponsor.

"We have to submit the application," he said.

If the grant is approved, Charter Communications also will commit funding to the project.

"There's no cost to the county," Loughry said.

He said the project would extend broadband capabilities to about 6,000 homes in the county.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said this would result in fiber optic cable reaching every rural home in the county.

Loughry said there is no guarantee the grant will be awarded for the project.

• Received quarterly reports from the Solid Waste and Planning and Zoning departments.

• Met behind closed doors in executive session for about 19 minutes to consult with an attorney about potential litigation.

• Discussed proposed regulations for living in recreational vehicles in unincorporated areas of the county.