Commission finalizes primary elections

Chad Frey
The Kansan

The Harvey County Commission met Thursday to finalize primary election results — reviewing provisional ballots for the election that was Aug. 4.

Avery Anderson (R-Newton) still won the Republican Kansas House District 72 nomination, and Christy Schunn was successful in a write-in campaign to appear on the County Commission Seat No. 2 ballot as a Democrat come November.

Entering the canvass, each race on the ballot was basically decided — with not enough provisional ballots to change the outcomes.

The largest number of provisional ballots the commission faced a decision on were cast by voters who received an advance ballot by mail, but did not return that ballot and attempted to vote at the polls on Aug. 4.

There were 44 of those — as required by state statute, those ballots counted.

“Our turnout was higher than I have ever seen for a primary. We are at about 38 percent turnout. We did keep 12 polling stations open and we sent out a lot of mail ballots,” said Rick Piepho, county clerk.

For the primary election, the clerk’s office mailed 5,735 ballots, with 3,725 returned with a vote. In comparison, the clerk’s office mailed 865 advance ballots for the 2018 primary, with 613 returned, and in the 2018 general election, there were 3,780 advance ballots mailed.

Entering into the canvass, Anderson was leading by 44 votes, including votes cast in Butler County, over Kathy Valentine. There were 29 provisional ballots cast in that race. Anderson increased his lead, 1,300 to 1,189, in the Harvey County race. Including final tallies from Butler County, Anderson won the nomination 1,330 to 1,280.

Provisional ballot breakdown:

• 17 moved within the county but did not re-register. Statute states they should be counted.

• Five changed name by marriage without re-registering. Statute states they should be counted.

• One technical/poll worker error. Naturalization papers with a photo were presented for identification, and the voter should have been allowed to vote. The commission counted the provisional ballot.

• 44 people who were mailed an advance ballot, but did not return the advance ballot and voted at the polls. Those votes at the polls were counted.

• Five people who were mailed an advance ballot and returned that ballot attempted to vote at the poll site. Those five ballots were counted.

• 17 people voted on the wrong party ballot. Due to party guidelines for the primary, their votes were not counted.

• 22 people who are not registered in Harvey County attempted to vote in Harvey County. Their provisional ballots were not counted.