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Why is Cherokee County losing nearly 1/3 of its voters? - KOAM TV 7

Why is Cherokee County losing nearly 1/3 of its voters?

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Authorities are investigating why the voting status of nearly 4,500 Cherokee County voters has been cancelled.

At a news conference county clerk Rodney Edmondson made his first comment on the investigation.

"As of just a few weeks ago we have determine that there are 4,383 voters that have their voter status of cancelled, now in question," said Edmondson.

Lori Johnson, a long-time Columbus resident and Chairperson for the Cherokee County Republicans, says their group had questions years ago.

"We raised concerns with the clerk's office, and the secretary of state's office and basically that concern at that time fell on deaf ears," said Johnson.

In October of 2013 the Kansas Secretary of State's Office contacted Edmondson and indicated that it had identified what they believed to be hundreds of persons who had their voter registration status changed from active to cancelled.

"My office is not aware of anyone who was not allowed to vote on the basis of having their voter registration cancelled. However, there is a remote possibility this occurred," said Edmondson.

Edmondson says, on December 1, 2010 approximately 16,000 names were on the voter registers.

By February 2011, the total number of voter registers for the county was 13,477. By March 1, 2011 the total registered voters were 10,900. A decrease of over 5,000 voters within a 90 day period.

Edmondson believes status of voters were ordered to be cancelled on the basis that such persons had not voted in two consecutive state or federal general elections.

However Kansas law does not support that the cancellation be done solely on this basis - there must also be evidence to support that such a person has changed his or her residency to another country or state.

After the next election in Columbus, and prior to July 16th 2014, the clerk will begin mailing advance ballots for the August primary elections.

Rodney Edmondson was not the county clerk during the time period being investigated.

The former county clerk Crystal Gatewood, denies any wrongdoing and says her office was lead by the secretary's of states office.

To find out if you are on the cancelled list call the Cherokee County Clerks office 620-429-2042.

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