Johnson County officially has a new election commissioner.
Kansas secretary of state Scott Schwab swore in Fred Sherman Wednesday as the Johnson County election commissioner. Sherman has more than 25 years of municipal and county government experience and previously served as the chief administrative officer and city clerk for Westwood, according to a press release.
Sherman served as the deputy election security commissioner for the 2020 election.
“Mr. Sherman has an impressive background in management, finance and government,” Schwab said. “He is an experienced project manager who understands the importance of working with local officials to responsibly manage the Johnson County election office.”
Sherman will take over for Connie Schmidt, who served as the interim commissioner during the 2020 elections.
Schwab appointed Schmidt to temporarily serve in the position after Ronnie Metsker resigned from the position in December 2019.
It turned out to be a critical appointment.
Schmidt had previously served as the county’s election chief from 1995 to 2004. But 2020, by her own admission, was an election year unlike any other.
Nearly 78% of Johnson Countians voted in the Nov. 3 general election, with an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots cast amid worries over COVID-19 spread at in-person polling locations.
Also, amid the highly fraught presidential contest, elections in Johnson County appeared to go off without any major logistical hitches.
“Connie selflessly agreed to serve as temporary Johnson County election commissioner, never anticipating the 2020 elections would be held during a global pandemic,” said Schwab.
“Thanks to her outstanding leadership and expertise, the Johnson County Election Office is positioned to thrive. We owe our heartfelt gratitude to Connie for her dedication and service.”
In Johnson County election commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State, and not selected through a vote of its residents. In fact, Johnson County is one of just four counties in the state to have its top elections official appointed by the secretary of state instead of elected by residents.