A Frustrated Josh Waddell Apologizes. Read or Listen to the Interview

Josh Waddell at the USD 489 candidate forum.

Josh Waddell at the USD 489 candidate forum.

Josh Waddell was elected to the USD 489 school board in last week’s election. He received the second most votes, but was not legally qualified to serve because he had not been registered to vote in Ellis County. Waddell spoke with Eagle News to explain what happened.

“In 2011 when I redid my drivers license they asked me if I wanted to register to vote and I said yes. At that point in time I thought I was a registered voter in Ellis County. I was gone during the presidential election in 2012 for training for my job so I was not able to vote. Had I voted I would have found out then that I had not registered.

“When I went through the school board application, I’m finding out now that apparently there was a phone call and voicemail left to me for vote registration issues. I never received that voicemail. I’m not going to take the stance that the county clerks office is lying, I’m just going to take the stance that I never received that.

“I had numerous phone calls with the county clerk and that was never brought up in any of those phone conversations either. So it wasn’t until the Thursday after voter registration had closed out that I found out I wasn’t a registered voter and I found out by trying to find out what I had marked – I wanted to show unaffiliated. I didn’t know if that is what I had marked or not when I did my voter registration and that is when I found out I wasn’t technically a registered voter.  At that time I said ‘Well what do I do?’ and I was instructed by the county clerk that it is irrelevant it doesn’t matter, it’s not required for school board elections.

“Just come up after the election and register if you want to be a voter and of course I did that and now I find out it’s a pretty big issue that could have been remedied over the course of two and a half months had I consciously known I was not a registered voter.

“Now I take full responsibility for not following up for not looking for a registration card but quite frankly that was out of sight out of mind. I didn’t think of it that way but I definitely should have, I should have known for sure that by checking when I never received a voter registration card, that I wasn’t looking for but I definitely have to take some responsibility in the situation.

“But by no means was it intentional and by no means did I get advised to become a registered voter and just ignore that advice. You don’t go through a campaign and spend your own money just to be disqualified in the end. That is not what anyone would set out to do. I’m a little frustrated that I don’t believe the county clerk office is not reporting things accurately.

“None the less at the end of the day I wasn’t a registered voter in Ellis County.

“There was a message from the county clerks office I called back on but it pertained to campaign funding and whether I wanted to fill out that form ahead of time or wait ’till the end. I called back and discussed it and at that time nothing about voter registration was mentioned to me.

“I think the situation could have been handled differently but I’m not willing to take the stance and blame all this on the county clerk’s office. I just the wish the process for the application to the school board election could have been thoroughly reviewed so we could have avoided anything if there were qualifications that candidates were missing.”

Waddell agreed that voter registration for elected office needs to be clarified, to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“I can’t apologize to the community enough. It was completely unintentional there was no malice. I didn’t try to circumvent any of the state laws. That was not what was done here. I would never intentionally try to avoid registering. I feel bad for all the people that have lent me support and wrote letters on behalf of me. I apologize to the community. I can’t say that with enough sincerity. I did not mean to put the community, the school board and those who supported me in that position. That was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to be on the board of education because I believe in myself and my ability to work with others and that I thought I could be a positive influence moving forward especially with so much change in the next few months. I don’t know whether I will have that option at this time. I don’t know how it will work out.”

Waddell believes USD 489 now has two options, “The existing board has the ability to accept the election results as they are or they can choose to go with the recommendation of the board attorney and create a vacancy in that position. If a vacancy is created then the new board that takes office on July 1 will appoint someone to fill that position.”

Click the link below to listen to Waddell’s interview.

Josh Waddell Interview


  • Know your facts

    What a class act. Too bad the County Clerk couldn’t have been as honest about her role in this. She makes the mistake and now wants to throw Josh under the bus. Not very classy.

    • Ceebreezy

      True would have never happened if Alberta was still county clerk this is a pretty big mistake.

  • Shelley Bryant

    I believe the board should appoint Waddell after July 1st. It’s clear that the community wants him in this position and if they have the power to appointment anyone then it should be him! If he is registered now he should be fine to be appointed!!! Do what’s right and do what the community wants!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • curious george

    I don’t know how you can blame the county clerk for a resident not being registered to vote. It’s not their responsibility to make sure people register to vote, rather an individuals responsibility.

    • Know your facts

      The clerk is who is the county official on elections.

  • http://hayspost.com Blame

    It comes down to personal responsibility 100%. Ignorance is not a excuse, the situation is sad really but I don’t see how any blame should rest with the County Clerk. They have some many responsibilities and making sure a candidate is registared to vote is not the clerks job or fault.

    • Fact

      No but checking before placing on the ballet is HER job

      • Kansas Native

        This is the most important point in this whole situation. How does an election commissioner aka county clerk allow someone to be listed on a ballot when he or she does not meet qualifications. Donna, you really missed this one!

        • BeamInYourEye

          You’ve made mistakes in your job so how bout you not post? At least she came forward with her mistake of putting him on the ballot.

    • Uncle Thomas

      Here we go…they have “so” many responsibilities in that very busy court house. They are paid for the responsibility! How many canidates did they have to check…so many! One thing is for certain you will never hear a public official accept responsibility.

  • S

    If he was not eligible (for whatever reason, through his own fault, a miscommunication etc.) he should not have been an option on the ballot. And THAT, to me, is where the final responsibility lies.

    • Kansas Native

      You are 100% correct.

  • Your fault

    “I think the situation could have been handled differently but I’m not willing to take the stance and blame all this on the county clerk’s office”

    Sounds to me like you are putting full blame on the county clerk.

    Also like the excuse of job training as a reason for not voting in the presidential election – ever heard of absentee ballots or advanced voting? Guy wants to make decisions for USD 489 but hasn’t voted in either of the 2 most recent elections.

    • hmmmm

      Do you even know what Josh’s job is. Have you ever thought about he may not know exactly where he is going to be weeks in advance, like you have to do to register for absentee or advanced voting. Maybe you should know your facts before you open your trap.


      • passin threw

        doesn’t sound that tough to me….

        Voting in Kansas is easier than ever. With advance voting, any registered voter can vote by mail or in person before Election Day.

        Advance voting application
        Contact your county election officer to request an application for an advance voting ballot.
        Complete the application and return it to your county election officer.
        You can have your ballot mailed to you starting 20 days before the election.
        You may vote in person in the county election office starting the Tuesday before election day, or up to 20 days before the election, depending on the county.
        All ballots must be received in the county election office by the close of polls on election day.
        Sick, disabled or Non-English Proficient voters may receive assistance in applying for and casting advance voting ballots.

        • WELL

          Remember the same county clerk that dropped the ball on this issue, would have some responsibility for getting this ballot the person to vote. Not real promising.

          • passin threw

            actually if you read down the list Lance, it says he could of pulled up his big boy pants and walked in and done it all on his own. novel idea i know

      • Wrong

        Um no, you need to know where you’re going to be about 30 secs in advance to do advanced voting.

        • Lance Geyer

          Hey passin threw,
          That was not Lance, this is in fact Lance, I have never posted behind a fake name like some people on here (you). Myself personally feel if you have the audacity to talk down on someone, or attempt to cause issues. You should post your name.

          Lance Geyer

          • Lance Geyer


            Lance Geyer

          • passin threw

            i’m sure you wouldn’t…nice lil trick eh?

  • http://Stunned Stunned

    What the community wants or at least should want is someone who votes in elections. We are such a backward community…

  • Get The Facts

    Whose job is it to determine if a candidate is even eligible for an election? According to the State Constitution in this case the burden falls completely on the County Clerk. Josh has admitted his mistake of not validating all qualifications. A set of checks and balances are supposed to exist to prevent situations like this from occurring. Many of you are obviously upset that he was elected and for whatever reason you are using delinquent reasoning to suggest that his political voting makes or breaks his ability to make informed decisions. I would agree with you only if his informed decision in this case was not to register but that is clearly not the way it all happened. And to the writers of the above posts, it is the Job of the County Clerk to make sure all candidates are qualified applicants, which includes determining their ability to vote. After listening to his speech to the BOE, watching him at the forum and visiting with him at my house as he was walking neighborhoods I believe in his sincerity and wish him all the best. If the election was tomorrow and knowing what I do I would vote for him in a heartbeat and I don’t care if he’s ever voted in his life.

    • Runner

      The county clerk clearly dropped the ball in this case. If someone’s credibility is at question, it is the County Clerk, NOT Mr. Waddell.!!! Just more dirt in Ellis county politics!

    • Uncle Thomas

      Shhh…people dont want the truth. This is a blame game your going to ruin all the fun!

  • duties

    I believe one of the duties of the county clerk is to make sure those that are on the ballot are in fact eligible to be on the ballot. I’m pretty sure the “application” to run for the position is run through the county clerks office. If she did not make sure the ballot was correct and included only eligible individuals, then in fact it is her fault.

  • passin threw

    this part cracks me up…..Waddell agreed that voter registration for elected office needs to be clarified, to avoid a similar situation in the future.

    i saw that so i thought since we live in such a technology world that i would google the terms and conditions it takes to run. you’re not gonna believe this part but i found it within a minute on the wonderful world of web!!!!!!!! amazing how easy it was to do without anyone coddling and babysitting me along the way

    • Know your facts

      I see no link to this. Where is it?

    • Pride

      So are you saying that the county clerk should not verify eligibility as their job outline suggests? That is all I interpreted Waddell to be saying so that no one else is subject to this scenario. What part of this situation eludes you to believe that Mr. Waddell didn’t know what the requirements were and what has he done to make you think that he intentionally tried to pull a fast one? Keep patting yourself on the back for your amazing “google” ability, we are all so very proud of you! (Feel free to google sarcasm because that was used in the last sentence)

      • passin threw

        well thank you but my tennis elbow flares up from time to time…i don’t believe i ever said he was trying to pull a fast one, i said that at the end of the day the responsibility is all in his lap. but thanks for the interpretation

        • Runner

          At the end of the day, the ball is in the County Clerk’s lap, because they should not let anyone get on the ballot who should otherwise be disqualified due to lack of registration, etc… Passin threw is just passin gas…

          • passin threw

            you gotta be a member of trey carrasco’s family….they seem to blame everyone else too

  • Pride

    This discussion can be argued both ways and probably to no avail. Josh Waddell was not running for a political appointment nor was he running any type of political campaign. Josh Waddell volunteered for this candidacy because of his feelings regarding education. I personally feel that his willingness to pursue a thankless position such as a school board member speaks louder than any vote he could ever cast. I’ve never held a public office but I am a taxpayer and a voter. I vote so that I can feel involved. Whether or not Josh has voted 50 times or never at all, he gets involved and that should be enough for anyone. I feel that this situation was avoidable and that no ill will was intended and there is definitely no evidence to suggest that he chose not to be a voter. According to the info received from the County office Josh has been registered to vote in Kansas since 1994. Weighing all evidence, it seems that he has excercised his American right to vote in the past and it is evident that he wanted to be able to vote now and with his registration up to date it is a sureity that he will vote in the future. So, does the community no longer support him because of a technicality that has nothing to do with his character or do we turn on one of our own because they made a mistake, and an honest one at that? To the board of education, I urge you to accept Josh as a member of the school board and do not wait to appoint him or someone else in July. Finally, Josh if you read this please know that many of your fellow patrons have your back and we support you and are willing to forgive your part in this screw up. Be true to your word and help lead us as we move forward.

    • Lance Geyer

      Well Said!!!!!

      • confused

        3 different pictues under Lance Geyer.

        • passin_threw

          That’s a lot of email addresses to keep up with

  • joe smith

    Amazing. All this over whether Josh was registered in Ellis county, but this country has twice elected someone that no one knows squat about and there doesn’t seem to be anyone willing to look into it. Perhaps the Ellis county clerk should look there also.

  • http://HaysPublicNews Big Dog 10

    I feel for Josh and his current situation. I moved to the country in 2006 and had to check to see which polling place I voted at that time. I went to the county clerk office and regeister to vote and I was told I would receive a card in the mail when everything was in order. I never received anything so I didn’t worry about voting anymore at that time. With everything that is happening in the USA these days I deceided my vote is worth something and I went back to the county clerks office and told them I had never received anything yet. They said that they would send a card out in a few days. Yep never did receice that one. I returned 2 months before the 2012 National Elections and told them I still have never got a voter card in the mail and still didn’t know if I was registered or where I was supposed to vote. I really feel a lot of the problem os located at the county clerks office. It is clerical errors and the ability to not get things done. Why should I have had to go back 3 times to get this simple matter resolved. Makes you wonder if someone was not doing there job up there. Why did they even put him on the ballot if he was not eligible looks like someone at the clerks office made a error or did not know there job duties. I hope USD 489 takes these matters into consideration and make a smart choice by letting the votes stand as they are. Josh would have never wasted his time or money if he did not think things where in order and totally legal. I am sending this reply not because of Josh situation but because I feel county clerks office made a error and the results should stand as they are with Josh Wadell as USD 489 new board member. Please make the right decission.

  • For what its worth

    I was new to Hays in 2010, I was under the assumption that I was a registered voter as I registered to vote when I got my new liscense, turns out during the last election, I show up to cast my ballot, and my name was not in the system, i guess sometimes things fall through the cracks

  • Interesting

    My husband just had his renewed here in Ellis Co a little over two months ago and was asked the same thing. If he wanted to be registered to vote?,and he said yes and was told he would receive something in the mail. We have yet to receive anything in the mail to this date!!!! I agree with many others on this post, if it was intentional why the heck would he spend all that time and money? Sorry, but if the current board is unable to make right decision on this one, it just goes to show that a few of them need to come off!!!

  • One of many

    Seems like a trend…

    I moved to Ellis county a few years back and wanted to register to vote before the last presidential election. I found the requirements online but had a few questions to clarify so I called the county clerks office. I don’t remember the whole scenario but I ended up having to call back three times because the answers didn’t clear anything up and the answers changed each time someone different answered. It was extremely frustrating so I gave up trying and did what I thought I was suppose to…

    I agree with the people who posted in favor of Josh being elected and to those who criticize…

    If I were a husband that put in 40+ hours a week working throughout half of ks, spent my evenings and weekends not only attending my children’s activities but getting involved in their activities, then decided to run for an elected position which I’ve never done before because I felt I could do more than what I’ve already done, campaign spending my own money, walking door to door shaking hands of strangers many of whom could care less about what I was doing let alone what the Schools are doing, I might, just might put a little faith and trust in the one person in the county that I would consider an expert in voting, campaigns and elections to guide me through this process.

    If you don’t know Josh, you should…he’s a pretty good guy.

  • Uncle Thomas

    I went to register at the clerks office a few years back after a move and was told it was to close to an election it would be an additional hassle for them and me when it came time to vote. They told me to vote at my old location and to lie about my address.

    • Ceebreezy

      Seriously, I find that hard to believe.

      • Uncle Thomas


  • Did my vote count?

    This is crazy. I wonder how many residents in the county think they are registered but really aren’t.

    Is the county clerk elected? If so, pleas someone step up an run for county clerk. She gone

    • http://concerned concerned

      My goodness, if people would actually vote, they would know if or if not they are registered. Why blame the county clerk when someone runs for school board but doesn’t think that it was important to vote. If he had voted he would have known whether he was registered. He didn’t even vote for himself! We are taught IN SCHOOL that part of our civic duty is to participate in elections. This is a problem.

      • 489 Supporter

        He wasn’t allowed to vote for himself as he was notified a few days before the election. Do you not read all the info?

        • 489 Supporter

          I do agree that only an 18% voter turnout is an issue…something needs to change so that the tradition of voting is reinstated!

  • Just Curious

    Did Mr. Waddell go and attempt to vote for himself? If so, he would have known he wasn’t registered instead of apparently feeling blindsided by the problem days after the election.

  • Just a thought

    The same thing happened to me I thought I was registered. However, I wasn’t I am seeing a trend here.