Registration to vote in the August primary election in Kansas wrapped up on Monday.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says her office has processed or made changes to over 12,000 voter registrations in just over a month. That’s up from both 2010 and 2014, the two previous non-presidential election years.
The increase, Lehman says, comes from an additional 5,400 registrations, due changes in the proof of citizenship law from the courts.
Lehman says they’ve fielded over 300 calls in the past two days. A busy time of year for her office.
A real concern Lehman says is the tone more people are taking with the clerks in her office when they do call in.
“If you are calling in and you are using language that would make a sailor blush and you are yelling obscenities at staff of this office, it is certainly not productive,” said Lehman.
She says the aggressive behavior and tone has also been seen by those who come into the election office with questions.
“You have someone in the office who is belligerent and use aggressive behavior, it is not productive for anyone else,” said Lehman.
Lehman says she worries that this kind of behavior could also show up in the polling places when people come to cast their vote.
“One of them even made reference, if I go to the polling place and have issues, this is what x, y and z will happen at the polling location, well, that’s very concerning,” said Lehman. “If those things start occurring at polling locations, than we are going to have to deal with that and escort people out of polling locations if necessary,” she added.
Lehman says they’ve had a few issues here and there in the past.
She’s hopeful a lot of these problems won’t cast a dark shadow over the upcoming primary election and elections in the future.
“I’m just asking voters to be respectful, especially when you go to a polling location, understand those election works have absolutely nothing to do with the laws,” said Lehman.
KSN did ask Lehman about if adding security at polling places would be an option.
She says it would be costly to add security at all the polling places.
Lehman says armed security could also potentially intimidate those who are coming out to vote.