Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Johnson County Election Commissioner Metsker Resigns

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Johnson County Election Commissioner Metsker Resigns

Article excerpt

The top election officer of Johnson County resigned Thursday to close a nearly four-year period clouded by delays in reporting results of voting, the botched rollout of a new election computer system and a violation of the state’s open record law regarding rejection of nearly 1,000 ballots.

Ronnie Metsker, former state legislator and Republican Party official, was appointed in 2016 and reappointed last year. He submitted his resignation effective immediately rather than complete a term due to expire in September 2022.

Secretary of State Scott Schwab accepted the resignation, assumed supervision of the Johnson County Elections Office and opened the application process to identify a replacement for Metsker. In a statement, Schwab didn’t explain why Metsker quit.

“Under his management,” Schwab said, “the Johnson County Election Office oversaw a new era of election administration with modern technology and the implementation of a new voting system. We are grateful for his service and leadership and wish him well.”

Under Kansas law, the Kansas secretary of state chooses election commissioners in counties with more than 130,000 residents. That standard applies in Johnson, Shawnee, Sedgwick and Wyandotte counties.

Metsker’s resignation letter doesn’t offer an explanation for his decision to leave the position.

“I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the employees of the election office for their dedication and hard work,” Metsker said. “The progress made during my tenure would not have been possible without them. I depart with confidence the office is positioned to thrive and succeed.”

In the August 2018 primary election, Johnson County rolled out the $10.5 million ES&S Express Vote system recommended by Metsker. Computer software problems were blamed for a 13-hour delay in posting election results, including tallies influential in deciding outcome of the GOP primary gubernatorial battle between Gov. …

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