April 15, 2024

Canvass Complete; Candidates Have Days to Contest Treasurer Results

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) The results for Finney County Treasurer remain the same after a canvassing certified Kelly Drees as the winner receiving 2,099 votes beating her opponents Josh Urteaga at 710 and Kendra Birkholz with 715 votes.  

The Secretary of State’s office confirms a violation of state law occurred when Drees had CPA listed by her name on the ballot. No titles or professional accomplishments are suppose to be listed.  

Bryan Caskey, Director of Elections with the Secretary of State’s office says County Clerk Elsa Ulrich is ultimately responsibility for what is printed despite what a candidate may put by their name.  On the filing form it does not state no titles are to be placed, but it does not encourage it either.

Caskey said they held phone conference sessions with county election officials where this issue was addressed, but he is unaware of who participates in those informational calls.  Caskey believes that Ulrich can not be held responsible for the oversight. Western Kansas Broadcast Center has emailed Ulrich to ask if she ever participated in those phone conferences with the Secretary’s office.

All contested results must be done at county level. Canvass letters are being sent out giving candidates until Friday to contest.

___________________UPDATE________________________________

Finney County clerk Elsa Ulrich has admitted fault in a written statement for listing Kelly Drees, one of the three candidates in the treasurer’s race as a CPA a violation of state law.  Drees won by almost 14-hundred votes over her opponents Josh Urteaga and Kendra Birkholz.

Bryan Caskey, Director of Elections says they held weekly phone conferences with county election officials where the issue of not identifying candidates professional titles or experience was addressed, but he’s unaware of who participated.

When Ulrich was asked whether she joined in on the Secretary of State’s calls she answered.

“I have listened in on some of the weekly calls, not all, and I must say that I do not recall every topic.  This was my mistake and I am sorry for the embarrassment it has caused the candidates, the voters of Finney County, my office staff and the Secretary of State’s office staff.”

Canvass letters were mailed to the candidates.  They have until Friday to contest.