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Kobach widens lead over Colyer as provisional ballot count continues

The race for Kansas Governor continues to be extremely close as county election officials across Kansas review provisional ballots from last week’s primary. Secretary of State Kris Kobach widened his lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer to 345 votes as of 5:30 pm today, as updated results continued to come in, including Sedgwick County and Johnson County.

County officials are reviewing nearly 9,000 provisional ballots, given to voters at the polls when their eligibility is in question. County boards of canvassers have until Aug. 20 to consider provisional ballots and certify the local results.

Over two-thirds of the state’s counties reviewed provisional ballots on Monday. Fourteen others began canvassing Tuesday. Two others will begin Wednesday, and six counties – including Shawnee and Wyandotte – will start Thursday. Rooks County is scheduled for Friday, and six counties have scheduled for Aug. 20.

Kobach has recused himself from over-seeing the count, and said Assistant Sec. of State Eric Rucker would take his place on the state canvassing board that will certify election results. The other two members are Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.  Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann is a member of the objections board that would handle any complaints. Kobach said he would not publicly call on Colyer and Mann to recuse themselves from those positions, but added, “should you decide to follow my lead and address any appearance of a conflict of interest by removing yourselves from these boards, please let my office know immediately and let my office know who will serve on these boards in your place.”

Colyer’s legal team sent a letter to Johnson County elections director Ronnie Metsker arguing that the canvassing board should reconsider 153 ballots that were set aside “based solely on an election worker’s suspicion that the signature on the ballot envelope does not match the county’s record.” The letter argues that Kansas law doesn’t require the verification of signatures and says similar ballots were counted elsewhere.

There is also the possibility of a recount being called for if the count continues to be close. Candidates have until Aug. 17 to ask for a recount. Kansas has no provision for an automatic recount.

For updates on the vote count as they are reported, go to https://ent.sos.ks.gov/.


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