Johnson County certifies election results, finalizing votes in several close races

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OLATHE, Kan. — Election results in Johnson County were officially finalized Tuesday, including in several close school board and city council races.

Johnson County election officials counted about 1,000 provisional ballots on Tuesday before certifying the results.

The board also determined that 187 ballots will not be counted because voters were not registered, did not provide photo identification, or the signature on the ballot envelope did not match the voter record.

In the end, it was a tight race for an Olathe school board seat. Julie Steele defeated Jennifer Gilmore by just 65 votes. On election night, Gilmore claimed victory, but that quickly changed the next day as more mail-in ballots were counted and Steele slowly took the lead.

Some interested in this race are questioning the integrity of the election, arguing a ballot box wasn’t counted on election night and then was manipulated the next day.

In the Blue Valley district, Jim McMullen beat Lindsay Weiss by just 51 votes.

But election officials said all eight ballot boxes across the county are under video surveillance and bipartisan teams locked all of them on election night. All then are retrieved the next day, and it takes keys from both a Democrat and a Republican to open and retrieve the ballots.

Election officials are confident that ballot collection happened correctly and all proper ballots are secure.

There’s one thing the Johnson County election commissioner is particularly proud of: voter turnout. Election commissioner Fred Sherman said turnout was at 25%, believed to be a record for an odd year, local election.

Candidates now have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to ask for a recount.

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