Bounty of local government units in Kansas draws scrutiny

A bizarre voting outcome in the central Kansas community of Frederick demonstrated how difficult it would likely be to consolidate some of the 3,800 cities, counties, townships and special districts scattered across the state.

In 2016, the town’s nine registered voters were asked to decide whether to dissolve the city 75 miles west of Wichita. On Election Day, officials reported the vote was 13-7 in favor of keeping Frederick. The problem? People ineligible to weigh in on the issue were allowed to vote.

“The incorrect ballot was handed out,” said Eric Sartorius, executive director of the League of Kansas Municipalities.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the nation’s biggest advocates for voting accuracy, said he lacked authority to intervene in the local question. The electoral debacle in Frederick illustrated how tricky it could be to cut into a Kansas governance structure of 1,500 special districts, 1,300 townships, 625 cities, 288 public school districts, 105 counties and 19 community college boards.

(Read more: Capital-Journal)