Staff Writer

An independent online news site reports Cherokee County exceeds its registered voter tally by three percent, based on census figures.

Kansas Watchdog.org showed the county exceeding 100 percent this past week on its website.

According to the Web site, the Kansas Policy Institute and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity are the sponsors of the website for the people of Kansas. They are part of a nationwide effort to give citizens and their elected representatives solid factual reporting on issues that matter.

“This is a website,” said Cherokee County Clerk Crystal Gatewood. “I don’t know where they come up with their numbers at.”

Watchdog shows the county as one of six that have more registered voters than their recorded census voting population. Gatewood’s Deputy Assistant Clerk Paula Cheney assistant responded, saying the county has voters in active and inactive status.

“We can’t take voters off of the registration books unless they miss two presidential elections,” Cheney said. “Voters also have to write us to remove their names when they move away.”

Gatewood also said Cherokee County received excellent reviews from Secretary of State Chris Biggs office.

Biggs office confirmed that a comparison of federal death lists with voter rolls produced mismatches and that two thirds of these are false positives.

Biggs Republican opponent in the election, Kris Kobach claimed that this over registration shows signs of voter fraud. He further claims that Cherokee County is one of six Kansas counties that have more voters registered than residents that are 18 or older.

Gatewood reported her county had completed registration as of the cutoff date of October 18.

“We had 16,648 registered voters for Cherokee County,” she said. “Our county population is more than that.”

According to the Kansas Watchdog.org sotry, in Smith County, the number of registered voters, 3,325, is 9 percent higher than the census estimate for the voting-age population, the greatest disparity. But County Clerk Sharon Wolters noted that more than 300 voters are inactive and many will be dropped from the rolls after the election.

She also said the census figures may underestimate the population in rural areas.

Biggs said later that the complaint and Kobach’s “shotgun approach” on election fraud issues demonstrate that the Republican is unfit for the office.

He misrepresents statistics, Biggs said. He jumps to conclusions. He’s not careful about details.

A similar website, Missouri Watchdog reports that 16 counties are over registered there, with figures of .1 percent to 25 percent.

Tyler Longpine, with Biggs office disputed the numbers. He noted the figures used by Kansaswatchdog.org are based on census estimates.

“This data is based on approximate data (census estimates),” he said. “I?don’t think we should put a lot of weight on what is, at the end of the day, merely an estimate.

“You have somebody who’s registered to vote in Cherokee County but then they move but don’t reregister, that’s how this creeps in.”

Longpine is also a spokesman for Biggs’ campaign.

Gavin Young with the Kansas Attorney General’s office said there is no real worry about voter fraud.

“There’s never been a case fo voter fraud reffered to the attorney general in the last 10 years,” he said.