Health

Kansas recount confirms results in favor of abortion rights

OLATHE, Kan. — A decisive statewide vote in favor of abortion rights in historically conservative Kansas was confirmed with a partial hand recount, with fewer than 100 votes altering after the final county reported results Sunday.

Nine of the state’s 105 counties recounted their votes on the request of Melissa Leavitt, who has pushed for tighter election legal guidelines. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Mark Gietzen, is masking most of the prices. Gietzen acknowledged in an interview that it was unlikely to vary the end result.

A no vote in the referendum signaled a want to maintain present abortion protections and a sure vote was for permitting the Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortion. After the recounts, “no” votes lost 87 votes and “yes” gained 6 votes.

Eight of the counties reported their results by the state’s Saturday deadline, however Sedgwick County delayed releasing its remaining rely till Sunday as a result of spokeswoman Nicole Gibbs mentioned some of the ballots weren’t separated into the right precincts through the preliminary recount and needed to be resorted Saturday. She mentioned the quantity of votes cast general did not change.

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

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

Gietzen, of Wichita, and Leavitt, of Colby, in far northwestern Kansas, have each prompt there might need been issues with out pointing to many examples.

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

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 modifications.

Leavitt and Gietzen offered 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. Gietzen additionally mentioned he’s getting donations from a community constructed over three many years in the anti-abortion motion.

Gietzen mentioned Sunday he doesn’t settle for the results of the Sedgwick County recount as a result of of the discrepancy about the best way the ballots had been sorted and since some of the recount occurred Saturday with out outdoors observers current to look at.

“We still don’t know what happened in Sedgwick County. I won’t pay for Sedgwick County,” he mentioned.

He mentioned he’s additionally involved concerning the results statewide as a result of of a report out of Cherokee county in southeast Kansas concerning the results of one county election being transposed between two candidates when the results had been transferred on a thumb drive from one voting machine to a tabulating machine.

Gietzen mentioned he plans to file a lawsuit Monday looking for a full statewide recall.

Gietzen mentioned he received’t publicly report the names of non-public donors serving to him finance the recount, though a state ethics official says it’s required. Gietzen, who leads a small GOP group, the Kansas Republican Assembly, argues that he’s not campaigning for the anti-abortion measure however is as a substitute selling election integrity.

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

In Jefferson County, the margin remained the identical, with the pro- and anti-amendment totals declining by 4 votes every. Linda Buttron, the county clerk, blamed the change on issues like ovals not being darkened and “the challenges of hand counting ballots.”

In Lyon County, the anti-amendment group lost a vote. County Clerk and Election Officer Tammy Vopat mentioned she wasn’t certain the explanation. But she famous: “You have to factor in human error.”

Johnson County, probably the most populous in Kansas, confronted the most important recounting problem as a result of it had probably the most ballots. It pulled in staff from completely different departments to assist. The sorting course of took so lengthy that the precise counting didn’t start till Thursday afternoon.

“This is almost like doing an Ironman triathlon and having to add on another marathon at the end,” mentioned Fred Sherman, the county’s Election Commissioner. “So it is quite a gargantuan process.”

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Hanna reported from Topeka, Kansas. Josh Funk contributed to this report from Omaha, Nebraska.

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