On Thursday morning, a member of Gov. Jeff Colyer’s campaign team called the Reno County Clerk’s office with questions about mail ballots and provisional ballot numbers, according to Deputy Election Officer Jenna Fager.
Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus, in Hays, received a call, too, but said Colyer caller inquired only about the mail ballots there. She told them there was one mail ballot.
The tightening race in the Republican gubernatorial primary contest between Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer is putting the spotlight on the count Friday of mail ballots that were postmarked by election day and are allowed to arrive as late as Friday.
In Reno County, 13 mail ballots arrived in the clerk’s office Wednesday and another four ballots came Thursday, according to staff. Reno County also has 202 provisional ballots, including approximately 65 provisional ballots cast in the 104th House District race where Paul Waggoner holds a one-vote lead over State Rep. Steven Becker in the GOP primary.
The results of the mail ballots and the hand-counting of ballots that could not be fed into the machine are expected to be released in Reno County Friday afternoon.
Canvassing in Kansas counties and the counting of provisional ballots can begin as early as Monday. In Reno County, canvassing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Courthouse Annex, 125 West 1st Ave.
Colyer’s campaign announced Thursday it has established a “Voter Integrity Hotline” and is encouraging voters to share their story if they experienced problems or noticed anything unusual when they voted. The number is (800) 951-8638. The email is CountMyVote@jeffcolyer.com
An Election Protection Hotline staffed by attorneys, including Lauren Bonds, legal director of the ACLU of Kansas, fielded 120 calls on election day, a press release said. The callers asked about I.D. requirements and the voting process and other issues.
The closeness in the Becker-Waggoner is apparent in the voting precinct map. In two precincts, the two candidates tied. Becker carried his home township of Little River and Waggoner prevailed in his home township of Medora. The tally on election night stood at 2,014 votes for Waggoner and 2,013 for Becker. If the race ends in a tie, the winner will be chosen by lot, such as a coin toss.
Hutchinson Democrat Bob Colladay launched a write-in campaign in the 104th District. An election board began working at the Reno County Courthouse Annex on Wednesday morning, and it is counting the write-ins in various races throughout the county, including the Colladay votes.