Kansas on Tuesday started a partial hand recount of this month’s decisive statewide vote in favor of abortion rights, a transfer compelled by two Republican activists regardless that the margin was so massive that the recount received’t change the end result.
9 of the state’s 105 counties are doing the recount on the request of Melissa Leavitt, of Colby, in far northwestern Kansas, who has pushed for tighter election legal guidelines. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Mark Gietzen, of Wichita, is masking many of the prices.
A bigger than anticipated turnout of voters on Aug. 2 rejected a poll measure that might have eliminated protections for abortion rights from the Kansas Structure and given to the Legislature the proper to additional limit abortion or ban it. It failed by 18 share factors, or 165,000 votes statewide.
It drew broad consideration as a result of it was the primary state referendum on abortion for the reason that U.S. Supreme Courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
WHY DO A RECOUNT IF IT WON’T CHANGE THE OUTCOME?
Gietzen and Leavitt have each urged there may need been issues with out pointing to any precise examples or proof. Gietzen acknowledged in an interview that he could be shocked if the Kansas recount modified the outcomes, however that he needs “the system mounted.” He pointed to potential issues that would have gone mistaken, akin to malicious software program, inaccurate voter rolls and voting regulation violations, regardless that there is no such thing as a proof that occurred.
Recounts more and more are instruments to encourage supporters of a candidate or trigger to consider an election was stolen quite than misplaced. A wave of candidates who’ve echoed former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was rigged have known as for recounts after dropping their very own Republican primaries.
In Nevada, lawyer Joey Gilbert raised cash to pay for a $190,000 recount that also confirmed him dropping the GOP nomination for governor by 26,000 votes. In Colorado, county clerk Tina Peters raised $256,000 to pay for a recount that confirmed she gained 13 votes whole in her bid for the celebration nomination for secretary of state, however nonetheless misplaced by greater than 88,000 votes. Each candidates continued to say that they had really received the election whilst recounts confirmed they got here nowhere shut.
Abortion rights advocates have a good time Kansas voting to maintain abortion authorized
The refusal of candidates or campaigns to consider they may ever be defeated in an election is a harmful growth for American democracy, stated Tammy Patrick, a former Arizona voting official who’s now a senior adviser to Democracy Fund.
“What we see now could be individuals simply don’t consider they misplaced as a result of they’re continuously being fed these lies in regards to the legitimacy of the method,” Patrick stated. The decision for recounts “retains their base engaged, ginned up and donating,” she added.
Deb Otis of the nonprofit group Honest Vote wrote a report that discovered about two recounts occurred a yr in statewide elections between 2000 and 2019, and in solely three did the outcomes change after the recounts uncovered tiny however important flaws within the preliminary rely.
“Voters will begin dropping monitor of when these claims are reliable and when a state ought to pay for a recount,” Otis stated.
Kansas regulation requires a recount if those that ask for it show they’ll cowl the counties’ prices. The counties pay provided that the end result modifications.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
Kansas regulation says counties have 5 days following a request to finish a recount. The clock for the recount on the abortion measure began Monday, when the Kansas secretary of state’s workplace concluded Gietzen and Leavitt may cowl the prices.
All 9 counties anticipated to complete by Saturday. 4 began recounting by Tuesday, and a kind of, Lyon County, deliberate to complete by day’s finish. The opposite 5 deliberate to begin Wednesday.
WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?
Leavitt and Gietzen offered bank cards to pay for the almost $120,000 price, in response to the secretary of state’s workplace. Leavitt has a web based fundraising web page that had raised greater than $47,000 as of Tuesday afternoon. Gietzen additionally stated he’s getting donations from a community constructed over three many years within the anti-abortion motion, however he declined to be extra particular.
The 2 initially needed the vote recounted in all 105 Kansas counties, however they couldn’t increase the required $229,000. Gietzen stated the 9 counties had been chosen primarily based partly on their inhabitants and price.
Votes are being recounted in Douglas County, residence to the College of Kansas’ foremost campus; Johnson County, in suburban Kansas Metropolis; Sedgwick County, residence to Wichita, Shawnee County, residence to Topeka; and Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas counties. Abortion opponents misplaced all of these counties besides Thomas.
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WHO IS BEHIND THIS?
Gietzen has been energetic within the anti-abortion motion and regularly protests exterior a clinic offering abortions in Wichita. He leads his personal group, the Kansas Coalition for Life, which is separate from the bigger and extra influential Kansans for Life that wields important energy on the Statehouse. He has pushed laws to ban most abortions at in regards to the sixth week of being pregnant. Kansas regulation doesn’t try this till the twenty second week.
He additionally leads the Kansas Republican Meeting, which had some clout among the many GOP’s conservative activists greater than a decade in the past earlier than they solidified their maintain over the state celebration group. He’s retired from plane producer Boeing.
He’s run repeatedly and unsuccessfully for the Legislature, and he has been an activist in opposition to cities including fluoride to their consuming water, one thing Wichita rejected in 2012.
“He’s thus far, proper, he’s coming across the different aspect,” stated former Republican state Rep. John Whitmer, host of a Wichita radio discuss present. “There’s simply not plenty of wiggle room with Mark.”
Leavitt owns a interest and craft retailer in Colby. She has questioned how Thomas County is dealing with its elections. She served on a neighborhood election advisory group.
WHY IS THE RESULT NOT GOING TO CHANGE?
Voters within the 9 counties solid roughly 59% of the greater than 922,000 ballots on the Aug. 2 poll query. They rejected the abortion opponents’ measure by 31 share factors _ considerably bigger than the statewide whole.
Recounts virtually by no means reverse the end result of elections, even within the closest races. For the reason that Florida recount for the 2000 presidential race, greater than 30 statewide elections throughout the U.S. have been the topic of recounts. The three that had been overturned had been determined by tons of of votes _ not hundreds.
The biggest lead erased by a statewide recount was 261 votes in Washington state’s 2004 election for governor. There is no such thing as a precedent in U.S. historical past of a recount reversing the end result of an election determined by greater than 165,000 votes.
Even some robust abortion opponents see the recount as a waste of money and time. Whitmer stated the cash may very well be a lot better spent on GOP efforts to unseat Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly or on aggressive legislative seats.
Hollingsworth reported from Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, and Riccardi, from Denver. Additionally contributing was Margaret Stafford in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri and Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, D.C.
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