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Johnson County Sheriff tells Vegas conference about voter fraud investigation; refuses to discuss it at home

Kansas Primary Election
Posted at 12:43 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 18:22:18-04

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan.  — On Monday, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office said it started looking into claims of election fraud after receiving 'numerous tips' in the fall of 2021.

When asked if any of the tips were credible, Shelby Colburn, spokesperson for the Johnson County Sheriff's Office only commented that the investigation is ongoing.

RELATED | Johnson County's chief counsel expresses concerns over election review by sheriff

Colburn told KSHB 41 News that Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden attended a Constitutional Sheriff's and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) event in Las Vegas this month. The CSPOA claims sheriffs have the authority to block laws they deem unconstitutional.

The group denies the legitimacy of the 2020 election and relies on the heavily debunked '2,000 Mules' documentary as evidence of fraud.

Colburn said the trip was paid for by CSPAO and adds Hayden is not a member of the organization.

While at the event, The Kansas City Star reported that Hayden spoke to a panel called, "2000 Mules: Law Enforcement Has To Step In At This Point. Will Sheriffs Investigate?"

According to The Star, Hayden said, "So I didn’t know anything about elections. We’re cops,” Hayden said, according to The Star. “So we’ve been educating ourselves about elections. I’ve sent my detectives through, I’ve got a cyber guy, sent him through, to start evaluating what’s going on with the machines.”

Colburn wasn't sure how many hours Sheriff Hayden has spent looking into claims of election fraud in Johnson County.

Colburn told the I-Team the sheriff will not discuss the investigation, citing that the investigation is active.

When asked by KSHB 41 I-Team senior investigator Jessica McMaster why the sheriff felt comfortable talking about his investigation to those attending the Las Vegas conference but wouldn't talk about it to local audiences, the sheriff's spokesperson said she would meet with the Sheriff Monday afternoon for any updates.

Fred Sherman, Johnson County Election Commissioner, issued a statement in response to Hayden's claims:

"My highest priority as the Election Commissioner is to ensure every eligible ballot is counted accurately and election results reflect the voting decisions of the people I serve. I standby the integrity and accuracy of Johnson County, KS elections."

Connie Schmidt served as Election Commissioner in 2020.

When contacted by the I-Team she deferred to a statement she posted on twitter, "November 2020 election was certified by BOCC serving as Board of County Canvass-unanimously. State mandated random hand count audit was perfect. End of story."

Update as of 5:20 p.m. Monday:
The sheriff's office issued the following statement:
The Sheriff wants to reiterate that he did not reveal any details about our active criminal investigation while in Las Vegas, or in any public capacity. He was invited to participate in a non-partisan panel to answer concerns regarding potential election fraud. We have received more than 100 complaints of fraud and it is the duty of the Sheriff’s office to investigate to ensure confidence in our elections for all voters. While
the sheriff cannot comment on any details of the investigation, you can expect a press release in the coming days with some general information which may answer some of your other questions. He is not available for an interview over the phone at this point.

The KSHB I-Team will follow up with the sheriff's office Monday afternoon about the sheriff's willingness to discuss this topic out of state but not at home.