Canvassers counting 1,451 additional provisional ballots in Johnson County

OLATHE, Kan. -- The Johnson County Board of Canvassers Monday authorized 1,451 provisional ballots be added to the vote totals from the primary election earlier this month.

These votes may help sway the outcome in the Kansas Republican governor's race.

About 200 votes separate Jeff Colyer from Kris Kobach in the Republican primary for governor. The race can be won or lost among the count of nearly 9,000 provisional ballots statewide.

Johnson County alone has more than 2,300 challenged and provisional ballots. And the county board of canvassers decided Monday to add 1,451 provisional ballots to the total county vote tally.

Included in this number are people who showed up at the wrong polling place or voters who received the wrong ballot. The county says their votes can count in statewide contests like governor, where those errors don't matter, but won't be counted for precinct elections and other localized contests where location and ballot type make a difference.

All election materials are being preserved by the county.

"We have been advised by the attorney general’s office that there may be legal action involving a recount," said Ed Eilert, chair of the board of canvassers. "So whatever board is responsible for making those determinations, a judge may decide that question."

The canvassing board also decided to not count 898 challenged and provisional ballots.

The most common reasons for rejecting a ballot are: not being a registered voter, an incorrect party affiliation change or a signature on a voter's envelope not matching his or her voting record.

Adding the provisional results to the vote totals is expected to take until 4 p.m. Tuesday, primarily because there are 13,317 write-in ballots, mostly for precinct positions, that must be scrutinized by hand. The county says it cannot release governor's race totals separately from the rest.