Kansas abortion vote: Why recount with such a large margin?

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas’ decisive statewide vote in favor of abortion rights has been affirmed by means of a partial hand recount, a transfer compelled by two Republican activists.

Nine of the state’s 105 counties carried out the recount at the request of Melissa Leavitt, of Colby, in far northwestern Kansas, who has pushed for tighter election legal guidelines. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Mark Gietzen, of Wichita, coated a lot of the prices. He is vowing to sue for a full statewide recount.

A bigger than anticipated turnout of voters on Aug. 2 rejected a poll measure that will have eliminated protections for abortion rights from the Kansas Constitution and given to the Legislature the fitting to additional prohibit or ban abortion. It failed by 18 share factors, or 165,000 votes statewide.

After the recount, the facet that supported the measure gained six votes and people against it lost 87 votes.

The referendum drew broad consideration as a result of it was the primary state referendum on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.


Gietzen and Leavitt have each advised there may need been issues with out pointing to any precise proof. Gietzen acknowledged in an interview that he can be shocked if the Kansas recount modified the outcomes, however that he needs “the system fixed.” He pointed to potential issues that would have gone incorrect, such as malicious software, inaccurate voter rolls and voting regulation violations, despite the fact that there isn’t a proof that occurred.

Recounts more and more are instruments to encourage supporters of a candidate or trigger to consider an election was stolen reasonably than lost. A wave of candidates who’ve echoed former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was rigged have known as for recounts after shedding their very own Republican primaries.

In Nevada, legal professional Joey Gilbert raised money to pay for a $190,000 recount that also confirmed him shedding the GOP nomination for governor by 26,000 votes. In Colorado, county clerk Tina Peters raised $256,000 to pay for a recount that confirmed she gained 13 votes complete in her bid for the occasion nomination for secretary of state, however nonetheless lost by greater than 88,000 votes. Both candidates continued to assert they’d really received the election whilst recounts confirmed they got here nowhere shut.

The refusal of candidates or campaigns to consider they might ever be defeated in an election is a harmful growth for American democracy, stated Tammy Patrick, a former Arizona voting official who’s now a senior adviser to Democracy Fund.

“What we see now is people just don’t believe they lost because they’re constantly being fed these lies about the legitimacy of the process,” Patrick stated. The name for recounts “keeps their base engaged, ginned up and donating,” she added.

Deb Otis of the nonprofit group Fair Vote wrote a report that discovered about two recounts occurred a year in statewide elections between 2000 and 2019, and in solely three did the outcomes change after the recounts uncovered tiny however vital flaws within the preliminary rely.

“Voters will start losing track of when these claims are legitimate and when a state should pay for a recount,” Otis stated.

Kansas regulation requires a recount if those that ask for it show they’ll cover the counties’ prices. The counties pay provided that the end result adjustments.


Kansas regulation says counties have 5 days following a request to finish a recount.

Eight of the counties reported their outcomes by the state’s Saturday deadline, however Sedgwick County delayed releasing its closing rely till Sunday as a result of spokeswoman Nicole Gibbs stated a few of the ballots weren’t separated into the proper precincts throughout the preliminary recount and needed to be resorted Saturday. She stated the variety of votes cast total didn’t change.


Leavitt and Gietzen supplied bank cards to pay for the almost $120,000 value, in line with the secretary of state’s office. Leavitt has a web based fundraising web page that had raised greater than $47,000 as of Tuesday afternoon. Gietzen additionally stated he’s getting donations from a community constructed over three many years within the anti-abortion motion, however he declined to be extra particular.

The two initially needed the vote recounted in all 105 Kansas counties, however they could not elevate the required $229,000. Gietzen stated the 9 counties had been chosen based mostly partly on their inhabitants and price.

The activists looking for the recount additionally should file finance experiences, Mark Skoglund, the manager director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission stated final week. But Gietzen disputed that in a textual content to The Associated Press, saying, “we are working on Election Integrity,” not selling the poll initiative.

Votes had been recounted in Douglas County, residence to the University of Kansas’ important campus; Johnson County, in suburban Kansas City; Sedgwick County, residence to Wichita, Shawnee County, residence to Topeka; and Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas counties. Abortion opponents lost all of these counties besides Thomas.


Gietzen has been lively within the anti-abortion motion and steadily protests exterior a clinic offering abortions in Wichita. He leads his personal group, the Kansas Coalition for Life, which is separate from the bigger and extra influential Kansans for Life that wields vital energy on the Statehouse. He has pushed laws to ban most abortions at in regards to the sixth week of being pregnant. Kansas regulation does not do this till the twenty second week.

He additionally leads the Kansas Republican Assembly, which had some clout among the many GOP’s conservative activists greater than a decade in the past earlier than they solidified their maintain over the state occasion group. He is retired from plane producer Boeing.

He has run repeatedly and unsuccessfully for the Legislature, and has been an activist in opposition to cities including fluoride to their ingesting water, one thing Wichita rejected in 2012.

“He’s so far right, he’s coming around the other side,” stated former Republican state Rep. John Whitmer, host of a Wichita radio speak present. “There’s just not a lot of wiggle room with Mark.”

Leavitt owns a interest and craft retailer in Colby. She has questioned how Thomas County is dealing with its elections. She served on a native election advisory group.


Recounts nearly by no means reverse the end result of elections, even within the closest races. Since the Florida recount for the 2000 presidential race, greater than 30 statewide elections throughout the U.S. have been the topic of recounts. The three that had been overturned had been determined by a whole lot of votes — not hundreds.

The largest lead erased by a statewide recount was 261 votes in Washington state’s 2004 election for governor. There was no precedent in U.S. historical past of a recount reversing the end result of an election determined by greater than 165,000 votes.

Even some robust abortion opponents noticed the recount as a waste of time and money.

Voters within the 9 counties cast roughly 59% of the greater than 922,000 ballots on the Aug. 2 poll question. They rejected the abortion opponents’ measure by 31 share factors — considerably bigger than the statewide complete.

Whitmer stated the money could possibly be significantly better spent on GOP efforts to unseat Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly or on aggressive legislative seats.


Hollingsworth reported from Kansas City, Missouri, and Riccardi, from Denver. Also contributing was Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Missouri and Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, D.C.


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For AP’s full protection of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion, go to

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