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KS Sectetary Of State Candidates Clash Over Election Official

Democratic Kansas Secretary of State candidate Jean Schodorf says Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman should be fired.

Former State Senator Schodorf says Election Commissioner Lehman has made a series of work errors, most recently involving a petition that would place marijuana decriminalization on the fall ballot.

The office initially misreported the signature count and misplaced some of the signatures.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who appointed Lehman to the job, says she has done good work overall and has fixed problems when they arose.

"She's been doing a very good job and she actually took extra time to do this signature verification process," says Kobach. "She's looking at thousands of signatures, inspecting each one, verifying that each voter was registered. This is a really time-consuming process."

Layman released a statement Wednesday defending her methods for counting the signatures on the ballot.

Layman says she stands by her count of 2,881 accepted signatures.

Schodorf says the problems in the office reflect on Kobach's administration.

Kobach says Schodorf is grasping at straws to promote herself in the election.

When she's not out making lattes in her mobile coffee bus Sunflower Espresso, Kate Hutchens is a fill-in host for KMUW. She has worked in broadcast journalism at KFDI, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and at KMUW as Morning Edition host, which she did until March 2017.
Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.