Final votes being counted in Johnson County with possible recount in two close statehouse races

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OLATHE, Kan. –The final votes from last week’s election are now being counted in Johnson County.  Once tallied, the numbers could flip results in two statehouse races, currently separated by single digits.

On Wednesday, the board of canvassers approved the counting of nearly 10,000 provisional ballots, so we should know winner when results are certified Thursday.

Exactly 9,764 provisional ballots were stacked up and sliding through counting machines at the Johnson County Elections Office on Wednesday.

“We had large quantity of replacement ballots recommended to be counted. We also had large group that were recommended to be counted that went to vote in person early and we already mailed them a mail ballot,” Connie Schmidt, Johnson County Election Commissioner, said.

Roughly 2200 ballots were not counted, mostly from voters who were not registered.  

Like many places across the country, what’s made this election unique is the massive increase in mail-in ballots and early voting.  The elections office, revealed nearly 79% of all Johnson County voters cast ballots before Election Day.

“I think a lot of the voters in Johnson County experienced it maybe for the first time and think they’ll continue to go down that path,” Schmidt said.

While a lot of accusations have been made against the vote counting process around the country in recent days, Schmidt says the process is normal and works. After all the county’s votes are tabulated, the results of two Kansas legislative races will become much clearer.

In House 16, Democrat Linda Featherston is just one vote ahead of Republican challenger Rashard Young. In District 48, incumbent Democrat Jennifer Day is down nine votes to Republican Terry Frederick.  

If the last ballots counted Wednesday don’t move the needle a ton, a recount is possible.

“There’s a new state law about if it’s within a half of one percent, the state reimburses the county for any costs for the recount so the Secretary of State’s office is working with us now on details surrounding that,” Schmidt said.

The final results will be certified by the Johnson County Board of Canvassers Thursday at 4 p.m. Candidates will have until Friday at 5 p.m. to request a recount.

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