TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the unsettled Republican primary race between Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach (all times local):
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer stands at only 110 votes after late mail-in ballots were added to previous vote totals Friday in their hotly contested Republican primary race.
Colyer has accused Kobach of advising county election officials not to count some late mail-in ballots that legally should be counted. Kobach said his advice on their handling has followed the law.
State law says mail-in ballots would be counted if they were postmarked Tuesday and arrived by Friday.
Kobach’s lead had been 191 votes when statewide results were first reported Wednesday morning. More than 313,000 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s primary.
Counties still must review almost 9,000 provisional ballots given to voters at the polls when their eligibility is in doubt.
An aide to Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s top deputy also shouldn’t advise county election officials while their tight Republican primary battle hangs in the balance.
Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr said the governor objects to Kobach having Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker take over Kobach’s election duties while the race is unresolved.
Kobach announced Friday that he’s stepping away from those duties until after the final primary vote is certified by the state. Colyer had called on him to stop advising county official on yet-uncounted ballots.
Marr said that while Rucker is “a good and decent man,” assigning Kobach’s duties to an employee that Kobach can fire does not end conflicts of interest. Colyer has said the state’s attorney general should advise counties.
Kansas counties are reporting updated vote totals in the contested Republican primary between Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach that reflect late mail-in ballots.
The secretary of state’s office was updating results as it received them from individual counties.
With the first 25 counties reporting, Kobach’s lead almost doubled to 241 votes from 121. That’s still a tiny margin with more than 311,000 ballots cast.
Kansas law says mail-in ballots are counted if they are postmarked Tuesday and arrive by Friday.
Colyer accused Kobach of advising county election officials to not count some late-arriving mail-in ballots that should be counted. Kobach’s office was planning a formal response later Friday.
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer’s re-election campaign plans to have a representative in all 105 counties next week as local election officials review mail-in and provisional ballots to arrive at final official vote totals.
Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach are locked in a tight race for the GOP nomination for governor. The primary was Tuesday. Kobach led by 121 votes out of more than 311,000 cast as of Thursday.
The counting in their race is not complete because state law says mail-in ballots that are postmarked Tuesday can be accepted by the counties as late as Friday. County officials also must review perhaps several thousand provisional ballots, given to voters at the polls when their eligibility is in question.
Colyer’s spokesman said the governor believes Kobach’s office is advising county clerks to discard mail-in ballots that by law should be counted, and the campaign representatives will be at canvass meetings to be sure that they are.