Election commissioner explains vote total changes from Tuesday night primary results

Wyandotte County Election Commissioner Bruce Newby today explained that some changes made Wednesday afternoon in the unofficial primary election vote totals were due to votes being counted twice from one polling place on Tuesday night.

Also, he discovered that votes from a second polling place were not counted Tuesday night, and those were then added.

Usually, revisions to voting totals do not change outcomes of elections, so they don’t draw much attention, but with the Kansas governor’s race at a 191-vote difference throughout the state on Wednesday morning, every vote that changes in that contest seems significant. The statewide difference was 91 votes on Thursday. At midday Friday, the secretary of state’s vote total website had been updated to show a 217-vote lead for Kobach, with more results expected later today.

The change from Tuesday night to Thursday afternoon’s totals in Wyandotte County was 26 more votes for Gov. Jeff Colyer and 32 more votes for challenger Kris Kobach, resulting in a total gain of six for Kobach in Wyandotte County. A larger change was in Thomas County, where about 100 votes changed.

Observers expect more changes in the vote totals, as counties throughout the state will consider whether to count provisional votes, and as mail ballots come in that were mailed by Tuesday.

Newby stated that all mail-in ballots that were postmarked by 7 p.m. Aug. 7 and received in the mail by today, Aug. 10, are required to be counted. Wyandotte County will open and count those mailed-in ballots this afternoon, will report the update on its election website, and will report the results to the state, he stated.

The canvass of votes in Wyandotte County is scheduled at 9 a.m. Aug. 16 at the election office at 850 State Ave. It is a public meeting.

Differences in vote totals in Wyandotte County’s unofficial results, in the GOP governor’s race, include:

Election night final unofficial totals in Wyandotte County:
Around 11 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7:
Colyer 1,538
Kobach 2,737

The Wednesday, 2:32 p.m. revision:
Colyer 1,532
Kobach 2,714

The Thursday, 3:20 p.m. revision:
Colyer 1,564
Kobach 2,769

Newby’s comments on what happened with the votes in one precinct on election night, and the discovery of another precinct whose votes had not been counted on election night:

“On election night we create summary reports of the results. We use summary reports because they produce the quickest results. There is always a very delicate balance between speed and accuracy. The summary reports lack the detail that would tell us if there are any problems with the count as we upload. That is why election night reports are UNOFFICIAL.

“On election night, one of our polling places returned a backup memory stick and not the primary memory stick. When we attempted to upload that backup memory stick, a dialogue box indicated the memory stick contained no data. We sent two Election workers back to the polling place to retrieve the primary memory stick. We then uploaded the primary memory stick.

“On Wednesday morning, we audited the results to make sure the results were accurate and complete. We looked first at the results for the one polling place and discovered that both the backup and primary memory sticks uploaded results so that the vote count of the polling place was doubled. We ran new reports and promptly reported the results to the State Election Director in the Secretary of State’s Office.

“I then directed that we do a full audit of all of the votes cast. This required printing results by precinct and comparing those reports with the results tapes printed on election night. We discovered that a second polling place results had not uploaded. We loaded the results from the polling place, this time getting what should have uploaded on election night. We then generated an amended unofficial results report and promptly reported the correct and complete results to the State Election Director.”

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