4 counties show inconsistent results in Republican primary for Kansas governor

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach

TOPEKA, Kan. — At least four Kansas counties are showing inconsistent election results compared to the Secretary of State’s website in the Republican primary for governor.

As FOX4 examines county and state records, we’ve learned Thomas, Haskell, Elk and Wyandotte counties’ results differ from the state office’s unofficial final results.

The final, unofficial results posted on the secretary of state’s website show Kobach winning Thomas County in northwest Kansas, with 466 votes to Colyer’s 422. But the tally posted by the Thomas County clerk’s office shows Colyer with 522 votes, or 100 votes more, a number the clerk confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Thomas County Clerk Shelly Harms said it’s possible that her handwriting on the tally sheet faxed to the secretary of state’s office was bad enough in the rush of primary-night business that the number for Colyer wasn’t clear.

“They just misread it,” she told The Associated Press.

In Haskell County in western Kansas, the county shows Colyer with 220 votes and Kobach with 257. But the Secretary of State’s website only shows Colyer at 103 and Kobach at 110.

Deputy Haskell County Clerk Emily Aragon said the county was still missing a precinct when it sent initial results to the secretary of state’s office Tuesday night. The county sent updated results later that night, but hundreds of new votes were not made public until Thursday.

In Wyandotte County, as of Thursday evening, the county’s website shows Kobach with 2,714 and Colyer with 1,532. The state’s website shows Kobach with 2,737 and Colyer with 1,538. If the county’s numbers are correct, Colyer would lose six votes and Kobach would lose 23.

It is unclear at this time why there are differences in the results from Wyandotte County.

In Elk County in southeast Kansas, the county’s results listed on its website don’t match up with the Secretary of State’s website. The county shows Colyer with 233 and Kobach with 258. The state’s website also shows Kobach with 258, but Colyer has 229. If the county’s results are accurate, Colyer would gain four votes.

Kobach still leads in the Republican primary for Kansas governor but not by the 191 votes he initially led by when results were released after the election.

Bryan Caskey, state elections director, said county officials pointed out the Thomas County discrepancy Thursday following a routine request for a post-election check of the numbers to counties by the secretary of state’s office.

County election officials have yet to finish counting late-arriving mail-in ballots or provisional ballots provided to voters at the polls when their eligibility wasn’t clear.

“This is a routine part of the process,” Caskey said. “This is why we emphasize that election-night results are unofficial.”

While their tight Republican primary race remains unsettled, Colyer is calling on Kobach to stop advising county election officials.

Colyer sent Kobach a letter Thursday that accuses him of giving county election officials guidance that is “inconsistent with Kansas law” about handling mailed-in and other ballots.

As secretary of state, Kobach is the state’s top elections official, setting rules, giving county officials guidance and appointing election commissioners in the state’s four most populous counties.

Colyer said in the letter that Kobach should have Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a fellow Republican, provide advice to county election officials instead.

Kobach said on Thursday he plans to formally recuse himself from his role overseeing the undecided race on Friday. He told CNN he would recuse himself after the request, though he called his role largely symbolic in any case.

“There’s really no point to it, but I said if my opponent wishes me to, I’d be happy to,” Kobach said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”

“But it’s purely symbolic. I don’t think he understands the process,” Kobach said.

Colyer’s campaign said Thursday that it had set up a “voting integrity” telephone hotline after it had received “countless” reports of voters experiencing issues at the polls.