JoCo Sheriff still casting doubt on 2020 elections — without offering evidence of fraud or interference

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No charges have been filed or public accusations made in Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden’s ongoing investigation into the integrity of the 2020 elections. But Hayden has continued to cast doubt on the conduct of county elections, most recently suggesting “corruption” in an election process that he says is “just not smelling right.”

Hayden caught local attention in March when he told an audience at a conservative club meeting that he had dedicated part of an information tech employee’s time, paid for by the county, into checking accusations over the election process. Specifically, he questioned voter registration numbers that showed a surge in Democratic voters, as well as the security of drop boxes and oversight of election workers.

No more specific issues have been raised in the ensuing three months. But two weeks ago, Hayden made similar assertions to another conservative group at a meeting in Olathe.

The Kansas Reflector reported that at a meeting of the Conservatives for Election Integrity political action committee, Hayden continued to air his suspicions. Sheriff’s deputies would be assigned to “tighten” election oversight and security, he said, vowing, “We will fix this.”

He was critical of Gov. Laura Kelly for negotiating with the ACLU to expand chances for voter registration.

“That tells me corruption runs to the top,” Hayden said. “Everything I’m looking at is just not smelling right. We’re going to continue to look at this. I want nothing more than to put handcuffs on people who did this.”

Hayden has so far not given many specifics about his office’s investigations into election procedures. In March, he would say only that the office is obligated to follow up on the many questions and doubts presented by the public. He confirmed then that an employee was devoting part of working hours in the sheriff’s office to those questions, but said it was so far not a criminal investigation and that nothing had risen to the level of preferring charges.

He did not reply to several efforts by the Post in the past two weeks to expand upon his comments at the PAC and to follow up on the progress of his investigation and specifics of how he planned to tighten election security or “fix this.”

Election Commissioner Fred Sherman did not comment on Hayden’s recent remarks, but in the past has said he stands by the integrity of Johnson County elections. The election office has a wide range of safeguards and bipartisan redundancies to ensure no one can make surreptitious changes to the vote count, he has said.

District Attorney Steve Howe did not return a phone call for this story.

About the author

Roxie Hammill
Roxie Hammill

Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist who reports frequently for the Post and other Kansas City area publications. You can reach her at roxieham@gmail.com.