County election certified

Chad Frey
The Kansan

One voter in Harvey County ended up in a unique situation — requesting an advance by mail ballot while a registered voter, but having that registration rescinded when convicted of a felony.

When their ballot was mailed, it was a valid ballot mailed to a valid registered voter. Their status changed before the ballot was returned.

“There is not a clear statute [for this situation],” said county clerk Rick Piepho. “... It is not clear, other than felons are not allowed to vote. This one is up to [the canvassing board].”

County attorney David Yoder, serving as a member of the canvassing board, moved to deny the ballot. The board voted 3-0 for that motion.

One ballot went missing during the count — apparently placed in a stack of provisional ballots scheduled to not be counted after marked as cast by voters not registered in Harvey County.

Staff from the County Clerk’s office double checked reports created by election software, and reviewed the ballots.

“It is up to you what you want us to do,” Piepho said. “If you want us to find that one vote.”

The board chose to amend the totals for the provisional ballots classified as from voters not registered in Harvey County, rather than have the clerk check each of the 116 ballots against voter rolls.

The canvassing board reviewed ballots in groups, voting on each to accept or deny ballots based on state statute and guidance. Upon the completion of their Thursday meeting, the election results in Harvey County were certified and official.

The board voted to count 99 ballots from voters who moved within the county but did not update their address prior to the election; 11 ballots cast by people whose name had changed but had not updated voter registration; 12 “technical error” ballots — voters whose names were misspelled in voter registration rolls; 146 provisional ballots from voters who requested a mail ballot but did not return their mail ballot before voting at the polls; and three ballots from mail voters who did not sign their ballot but corrected the error at the courthouse.

The board voted to not count 115 provisional ballots cast by voters not registered in Harvey County and seven mail ballots submitted without a signature and not corrected.

The final result of races in the county was unchanged. Republican Donald Trump earned the most votes for the presidential race within the county, while Roger Marshall won the U.S. Senate race, Ron Estes won the U.S. Representative race, Avery Anderson won Kansas House District 72 race and Republican Randy Hague won the Harvey County Commission District 2 race.

Hague held a 121-vote lead entering Thursday. After the provisional ballots were counted, his lead went to 128.

All other state and county races on Harvey County ballots were uncontested.