TOPEKA, Kan. — All eyes are on a primary race for Kansas state treasurer. Two Republicans, Steven Johnson and Caryn Tyson, are almost neck-and-neck for the GOP nomination.
The race falls within a 1% margin, which means county election offices will have to review 10% of precincts for the race under the state’s new “close race audit” process. The process includes a hand-counting votes to compare to results from machine tabulators.
“Teams of Republicans and Democrats just verifying that the counts in those precincts and in those different races match what we reported on Tuesday night Election day,” said Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell.
Howell told FOX4’s Kansas Capitol Bureau that his team wrapped up the audit process Monday. Now, they’re preparing to canvass, where they’ll go over provisional ballots and determine which are eligible to be counted.
As of Tuesday afternoon, updated unofficial election results from the Secretary of State’s Office indicate that 41 of the state’s 105 counties have certified results.
Over 21,400 provisional ballots have not been yet been reviewed. Political experts believe the final results in this year’s treasurer’s race could come down to provisional ballots.
Dr. Bob Beatty, a political analyst, said this year’s race is almost as close as the GOP primary for Kansas governor in 2018. Kris Kobach beat out former Gov. Jeff Colyer by just a few hundred votes.
“Poll workers tend to say when there’s any sort of doubt, have the person do a provisional ballot, and then we’ll figure it out later,” Beatty said. “So now we could have up to 20,000 provisional ballots. We’ll have to see how many. The voting tally may change from day to day until they’re all counted.”
According to election statistics from the Secretary of State’s Office, Kansas historically has a higher percentage of provisional ballots compared to all ballots cast than other states because Kansas state law allows a provisional ballot to be cast for any reason.
State law requires the election judge to issue to any person offering to vote, whom the judge shall suspect not to be qualified as an elector a provisional ballot. Reasons can include voter not being on a registration list, voter name change, voter change of address, voter offered to vote in person after requesting an advance mail ballot, and others.
Counties have until Aug. 15 to finish canvasses.
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