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Clerk's office refuses to notarize Waddell's oath

4/18/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

There was an added step in the process, but Josh Waddell, who received the second most votes in the April 2 race for three Hays USD 489 Board of Education seats, filed his oath of office at the Ellis County clerk’s office Thursday morning.

After the election, Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus said Waddell was not eligible to hold office because he was not registered to vote in Ellis County. The Kansas Constitution requires candidates for office to be a resident of the district to which they are seeking election, a U.S. citizen and older than 18 years of age.

County election officers traditionally have used voter rolls to affirm those three factors; however, neither Maskus nor the Kansas secretary of state’s office have yet to reference any statutory requirement for a candidate to be a registered voter.

Board of education members-elect usually make a trip to the Ellis County clerk’s office in the courthouse to sign the oath and have their signature notarized.

“(On Wednesday), I came up in the afternoon to have it done here,” Waddell said of the county clerk’s office, “and I was turned away. Donna wasn’t here.

“She called me and said because they’re saying there might be a technicality that I’m not qualified, that they weren’t going to handle it, and I needed to get it done elsewhere but that they would stamp it and accept it.”

Waddell went to his attorney’s office to sign the oath and have it notarized.

Ruth Mermis, a member of the county clerk’s staff, accepted his paperwork that included the oath and financial filing.

“I didn’t receive any money from anybody,” Waddell said of the contribution affidavit.

Maskus OK’d the paperwork before Waddell left.

State law allows for a protest period following an election. That period has expired without any formal protest. The secretary of state’s office said last week Maskus’ notation that Waddell is ineligible on the certification of results  likely would not qualify as an official protest.

The USD 489 Board of Education has called a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Toepfer Board Room in Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th.

Bill Jeter, who serves as the board’s attorney as well as Ellis County counselor, said Thursday the options regarding Waddell’s seat will be shared with the school board at Monday’s meeting.

An unrelated executive session to discuss non-elected personnel also is scheduled.