OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — As the nation watches the tight presidential race, so too do a pair of local candidates also in a close contest. And it doesn’t get any closer than one vote.
On Thursday, that was the amount separating two candidates vying for a Kansas House seat representing Overland Park.
“I am 100% calm and at peace,” said Linda Featherston, demonstrating her composure by playing “Sunflowers and Wheatfields” on the piano.
The local piano teacher is running as the Democratic candidate for Kansas State Representative in District 16.
“I think it’s the musician-side and being the parent of musicians and theater kids that I’m used to sitting and waiting for results. You go to an audition, and you sit and wait,” Featherston said.
Of the about 13,800 votes cast in the race as of Thursday, one ballot separates her and Republican candidate Rashard Young, a 26-year-old former track star at Johnson County Community College.
“I set the 500 and 600 records, and the program’s not there obviously, so I hold those records until they get a program and come back,” he said, surveying the changes to the athletics complex.
Both candidates said they trust the vote counting process, which is far from over due to about 13,000 yet-to-be counted provisional ballots. Young entered Friday leading the race, but updated numbers from the county now show Featherston with a single vote advantage.
Provisional ballots are used in situations where people may have moved, forgotten their IDs, or requested a mail-in ballot but voted in person. Each ballot will be reviewed at the Johnson County Election Office before being accepted or denied.
“When there is plus-or-minus 13,000, we don’t know which ones are in which of the races, but obviously they’re going to impact the vote total,” Johnson County Election Commissioner Connie Schmidt said.
So what are the candidates doing during the wait for final results?
“I’m an athlete, so I’m working out. I’m running. I’m putting in miles every day. and obviously praying and eating. Kind of taking care of my body. I’ve been on the campaign trail for the past year,” Young said.
“There’s a phrase I use with my students: ‘Breathe in and breathe out. It will all work out,'” Featherston said.
The vote count will be 100% completed and revealed at 4 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Johnson County Election Office. That’s when all races are expected to be officially certified.