Understaffing and lack of employee training at the Sedgwick County election office led to final vote counts again being delayed for hours after polls closed in August and November, a state task force said Monday.
In a six-page report, the task force found that the Sedgwick County election commissioner's office has the fewest number of full-time staff among the state's four largest counties, even though Sedgwick has the second-highest number of registered voters.
The Sedgwick County's office has just three full-time and six part-time employees, compared with Johnson County's 15 full-time and four part-time employees.
Vote totals in both the August primary and the November general election were never incorrectly reported and no laws or policies were broken, according to the group, comprising staffers from Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office.
Kobach had sent staff members to Wichita to investigate complaints that final results from the county were unavailable until hours after both elections. The first posted results in both elections also indicated they were complete with all precincts reporting, when, in fact, the posted results showed only advance vote totals from some precincts.
The task force said that the reporting problems were caused by "preventable human mistake," not by the office's software or hardware.
The task force gave the county eight recommendations for improvement.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman called it "a fair report" and said she had accepted all of its recommendations. Her office has begun working on some, such additional staff training. She said she would work with the county commission and secretary of state's office to resolve the problems.
"It was very helpful and it will definitely help us in addressing issues," Lehman said Monday.