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Board of Canvassers approves official election results

The 2018 Fall General Election results were finalized Thursday, Nov. 15, by the Johnson County Board of Canvassers after the addition of more than 5,600 provisional ballots that had been approved by the board on Wednesday.

Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker said the November elections set three records:

  • Most registered voters at 419,403.
  • Most ballots cast in a gubernatorial election at 272,231.
  • Highest voter turnout in a gubernatorial election at 65 percent.

The voting in the county on Nov. 6 occurred in national mid-term elections that found gubernatorial elections in 36 states, including Kansas. The 2016 presidential elections, with 298,000 voters casting ballots, had a 73 percent voter turnout.

“This election was much like a presidential election,” Metsker said.

The voter turnout in the 2014 gubernatorial elections was 51 percent with 194,052 ballots being cast, including 62,098 ballots by advance voting or 32 percent of the total count.

Advance voting remained popular in the 2018 elections with 145,042 voters using that option, representing 53 percent of the total votes. Advance voting in the 2016 elections totaled 180,657 ballots, making up 61 percent of the total votes.

On Thursday, the Board of Canvassers received a final report, totaling 30 pages, detailing the official final results for review and certification.

The elections on Nov. 6 ended with close races in the 14th District, 25th District and 48th District in the Kansas House of Representatives along with the 4th District for the Johnson County Board of Commissioners (BOCC). The frontrunners in all four elections were declared winners following the canvass in the official final results

The swearing in ceremonies of state lawmakers, both new and re-elected incumbents, will occur Jan. 14, 2019, with the convening of the Kansas Legislature at the Capitol Building in Topeka.

Two new members, both women, in the 1st and 4th Districts along with two re-elected members in the 5th District and at-large chairmanship of the BOCC will also take the oath of office on Jan. 14 at ceremonies in the board’s hearing room in the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 South Cherry St., downtown Olathe.

Determining the winners of four other races was more unique. One election involved the selection of the Gardner Township Clerk. The winner won by write-in voting.

Coin tosses were used to pick the clerks in Lexington Township with a six-way tie and in Olathe and Spring Hill Townships, each with two-way ties.

Six members of the Board of Canvassers served as proxies for nine of the township clerk candidates who were not present Thursday with Ed Eilert, chairman of the BOCC, tossing the coin and Metsker making heads or tails out of the flip. Only one candidate, Christine Nattrass vying for Spring Hill Township Clerk, attended the meeting and picked her side of the coin toss. She won.

Metsker cited a few other points of interest from the November elections that involved 502 precincts in 195 buildings, mostly churches, parishes, synagogues, and community centers, and the use of 1,950 new touch-screen voting machines that feature the voter-verifiable paper ballot. Voters at the polling sites were assisted by 1,750 election workers. More than 200 other workers also helped in the election process, including the election office staff of 17 employees.

“More than 2,000 Johnson Countians teamed up together to make this election happen,” he said.

The canvass, that began Wednesday, Nov. 14, involved the counting of 4,380 provisional ballots along with 1,248 partially counted provisional ballots for a total of 5,628 provisional ballots.

Seven main reasons were cited for voters casting provisional ballots, including almost half from voters having either moved or changed their name. Another reason, representing more than a third of the provisional ballots, involved registered voters who had requested an advance ballot, but did not return it, opting to vote provisional at the polls after completing a voter registration application.

Main reasons for partial ballots were voters being in the wrong polling place and voters being at the right polling site but with the wrong ballot.

The Board of Canvassers voted not to count 1,712 ballots for 13 various reasons, including ballots cast by unregistered voters, ballots by voters not providing a photo ID as required by state law and ballots that were postmarked after Election Day.

The Board of Canvassers was comprised of six members of the BOCC along with a director of a county department.

The 2018 mid-term election totals, including ballots reviewed in the canvassing process, were presented to the Board of Canvassers Thursday, Nov. 15, for certification. The board approved the report by unanimous vote.

The official final results of the Fall General Election on Nov. 6 are accessible on the election office’s website at jocoelection.org.