TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas counties will begin reviewing questionable ballots tomorrow in order to certify results of the primary election.
The race that may be most closely watched is the Kansas House District 50 race. Fred Patton leads incumbent Republican Representative Josh Powell by only 64 votes. Two men…one seat. And, neither man is declaring victory.
“I think everyone is cautiously optimistic,” Fred Patton said of his camp. “We’re glad that we’re glad that we’re the ones that are 64 votes up.”
But provisional ballots remain to be counted.
“Over 200 provisionals Shawnee County wide. We don’t know how many of those are cast in our district, so we’re waiting on those to come in,” Rep. Powell explained. “So, we’ll see what happens with that and proceed from there.”
Of those 260 provisional ballots no one knows how many are from District 50. Kansas First News Political Analyst Dr. Bob Beatty says it’s the provisional ballots that will make the difference. He says it isn’t likely that a recount of the votes cast will yield different results.
So what are provisional ballots? Let’s say you showed up to vote but didn’t have your i.d. you would still be given a ballot and have to return to verify your identity. Then, your vote would be counted.
Neither man will commit to a recount, saying they’ll just have to wait and see. Still, they hinted at the possibility.
“We’ve worked really hard both sides all summer long, and if this comes down to just a couple of votes, I think it’s important for the voters to find out what the exact vote is,” Patton told Kansas First News.
Powell also acquiesced. “I’m not sure, we’ll have to see what the margin is. We’ll have to see before we cross that bridge.”
At the end of the day, both men are proud of the race they ran and are ready for the results to be certified.
“The voters have voted, and whatever that turns out to be we’ll be okay with,” Patton said.
Dr. Beatty says if the results remain close, the election office may run a free recount or the losing campaign can pay. He says provisional ballots are unlikely to change the outcome because they are often split evenly among the candidates. Still, he says it’s a possibility.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic challenger Chris Huntsman in November’s general election.