Johnson County Election Office warns about door-to-door voter registration surveys

Johnson County poll worker

On Tuesday, the Johnson County Election Office issued a warning saying it had received reports of "private individuals[sic] going door to door in Johnson County requesting information on voter registration." Election officials say the county is not involved in any such effort. File image.

The Johnson County Election Office urged residents to not give out personal information after some reported instances of someone going door to door asking residents for voter registration information.

Why it matters: The county election office says it is not involved in any effort to collect voter information door to door and that “any statements or purported registration information from these individuals” has not been verified by the county.

Full county statement: The county issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

The Johnson County Election Office has become aware that private individuals are going door to door in Johnson County requesting information on voter registration. Please be advised that the Johnson County Election Office is not involved in this effort. Any information that you may choose to provide to these individuals or groups is not being requested by the Johnson County Election Office.

Also, be aware that any statements or purported registration information from these individuals have not been verified by the Johnson County Election Office. The Johnson County Election Office follows state and federal laws and guidelines for maintaining voter registration rolls. We stand by the integrity of Johnson County elections and fully support all legally registered voters casting their ballots freely, safely and without intimidation. 

Further details: In a follow up email, Johnson County Election Commissioner Fred Sherman said the warning was prompted by several comments his office had seen on social media about “people doing door-to-door voter registration surveys.”

“We wanted to eliminate any confusion that these are being conducted by the Johnson County Election Office,” Sherman said. “We are aware that similar efforts may be happening across the state.”

Broader context: Other election officials around the U.S. have reported similar instances of unauthorized or unknown individuals going door to door trying to collect voter registration information or ask questions about recent elections.

In Clark County, Washington, election authorities issued a warning on Monday, saying, “Voters are under no obligation to provide information to someone who comes to their door asking about their voter registration information.”

Last summer, the sheriff in Yavapai County, Arizona, cautioned residents to be wary of door knockers who were asking people how they voted in the recent elections.

Is it legal?: The Kansas Legislature last year passed a law imposing new election-related restrictions, including barring activity that “gives the appearance of being an election official.”

That prompted the League of Women Voters and other voter advocacy groups to suspend voter registration drives and file a lawsuit challenging the restrictions.

Meanwhile, door to door canvassing and solicitation is subject to local ordinances, which could vary from city to city in Johnson County.