OLATHE, Kan. — Two close Kansas House of Representative races decided more than a week after the election. The results certified by the Johnson County Board of Canvassers Thursday.
Thirteen-thousand provisional ballots were submitted in Johnson County, 2,000 thrown out because of errors. It is not often provisional ballots decide races, but they were very important in the Kansas House races in District 48 and District 16. When every vote was counted, it was the democrats who won the day.
Until provisional votes were counted, in the District 48 race representing Southern Overland Park, there was a nine vote difference between Democrat Jennifer Day and Republican Terry Frederick. That race ended up in a 62 vote victory for Day after all votes were counted and certified Thursday.
In the District 16 House race representing Northern Johnson County, Democrat Linda Featherston, who had been leading Republican Rashard Young by just one vote, won the race by 67 vote.
“This seat was won by two seats (votes) about a decade ago so we’re right on par for District 16,” Featherston said. “A friend commented that maybe we’re the most balanced district out there and balance is good.”
The balance tipped with Thursday’s announcement that Featherston picked up more provisional votes, beating Young to bring this hard-fought and close race to an end. It was a long wait for a winner to be decided.
“From the War Room Tuesday night you get a call. ‘Hey in-person voting was great! Two to one odds,’ you know? And then you get another call. ‘Hey it’s an eight point difference.’ It’s like that’s impossible and then you get another call, “You’re down four votes with 100% of the votes in.’ You’re like, which speech do I give, you know?”
An election cycle that saw record voter turnout, many ups and downs and questions about whether or not your vote counts, the 16th District race is seen an example moving forward.
“To hear folks in the barbershop and in a grocery store saying they don’t trust that their vote counts, this is a living proof an example and hopefully can be an example for all over the nation,” Young said. “For what it means, it’s our civil duty. We have a moral obligation to get up and go vote and participate.”
Featherston, who said if she lost she would do more volunteer work in the community, including picking up a route for Meals on Wheels, said of her victory, “I appreciate the voters of District 16 trusting me to represent them in Topeka and I will do my best to work for them.”
Young said he is grateful for the experience, wishes Featherston the best and said he will not ask for a recount.
FOX4 also reached out to the candidates in the other tight race, District 48, and they either declined or did not reply to our request for an interview.