Lost votes? Threats to election officials? Why is Wyandotte County such a hot mess?

·3 min read

Once again you have to ask: What in the world is going on in Wyandotte County? Fears of voter fraud, or at least anomalies, in the Aug. 3 primary — some of which might in fact be valid — have led to perceived threats toward the Wyandotte County Election Office.

“Did you know that rigging an election is actually an act of treason and the penalty for that is death?” Sandee Duffy, wife of failed Unified Government mayoral candidate Daran Duffy, is heard on a YouTube video telling an election worker Aug. 16.

I asked Mrs. Duffy in an email why she would say such a thing — especially since her husband claimed in one forum before the mayoral primary, “I intend to take a biblical worldview into that office.” She replied that her statement was “by no means a threat. It is a statement of fact. You know what I don’t wish to be? Executed. You know what I generally avoid? Actions that might result in such an end.

“If I said to you, ‘It’s not wise to molest children. You know what happens to pedophiles in jail,’ could such a statement be construed as a threat? Assuredly not.”

Maybe, maybe not. But it sure can sound like one. At the very least, it’s an ugly, loaded insinuation, as was her death-for-vote-rigging statement — which Election Commissioner Michael Abbott says he was concerned enough about to notify the sheriff’s office, and to advise election office staff to park in the gated lot.

Kansas City, Kansas, police also have started stopping by just in case, Abbott said.

Mrs. Duffy was oddly matter-of-fact and even chipper in the recorded audio, at one point asking the worker, “So, is it hard to rig an election? Or is that pretty standard? Have you been here long? Do you do it often? … Have you ever been to jail?”

Even without any alleged threats, of course, the Aug. 3 primary election for Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas was an apparent mess. Kelley, a candidate for at-large District 2 commission, was taken off the ballot after a few days of early voting because he had been allowed to file in the wrong district. And several candidates and their supporters have alleged fraud. Tscher “Cece” Manck told a Facebook audience that her early vote count of 117 suspiciously never changed as the results came in that evening.

Regardless, implied threats of jail and even death toward election workers are far beyond inappropriate in a civilized society, however aggrieved one feels by an election outcome.

If Mrs. Duffy has serious issues with how the election was run — and she’s joined by several others — then sort it out in appeals and courts. Don’t issue intimidating blindsides toward government workers about as-yet unproven allegations of fraud.

Notably, one confidential source with information about the situation told me, “I believe there were some unexplained anomalies in the votes, yes.” But the source wouldn’t speak on the phone about that or the threat allegations, even on background, for fear of retribution. “You want to meet up in person? I don’t want to talk on the phone about it,” the source said.

Politics are that dangerous in Wyandotte County? “I’ve been involved in this county for over 60 years. I don’t put anything past anybody,” the source said.

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