New deputy clerk for elections takes over during busy period

Adam Burns helps set up the voting booths Monday, April 6, 2015, at the Carnegie Building, 200 W Ninth St., as the Douglas County Elections Office prepared polling places around the city for Tuesday's Lawrence City Commission and school board elections.

Heather Dill, the new deputy Douglas County clerk for elections, is anticipating a very active first year.

Dill started at the county clerk’s office last month, but Monday was the first day on the job with her new title and without the guidance of her predecessor, Ben Lampe, who relocated to Michigan.

“I’m so busy I can’t breathe,” she said. “We just finished up (presidential) caucus voter registration. Next, we have the Lecompton city elections April 5. That will get my feet wet.”

Heather Dill

A full immersion will follow with this year’s August primary and the presidential year general election in November. As you might assume from her title, Dill and her staff are responsible for all the election related efforts of the county clerk’s office. That includes voter registration, compiling voter lists, candidate filings, advance voting, printing ballots, scheduling polling sites, recruiting poll workers, counting votes and certifying elections.

Dill spent the last seven years as election deputy of Lyon County, which was a career departure for the graphic artist with a degree from Flint Hills Technical College.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said Dill, whom he met when they both served on a committee studying technical aspects of the statewide voter database, made a name for herself in her new career, and she was on his short list of candidates to replace Lampe.

“It’s a presidential election year, so I wanted someone with experience in elections,” Shew said. “She’s very involved statewide and had been involved in some of the equipment transitions we dealt with. She’s knowledgeable in the use of social media, outreach to younger voters and technical aspects of our office. I was very pleased I could grab someone for this office who will help us get to where we want to be for the next few decades.”

Shew said Dill was now studying to get her national certification in election management.

“I’m working on the same certification,” Shew said. “She may finish before I do.”

Although her duties haven’t changed with the move, her new position does require some adjustment, Dill said.

“There were 17,000 to 20,000 registered voters in Lyon County, while Douglas County has 60,000 plus,” she said. “I had one (Kansas) Senate district in Lyon County. There are three here.”