A Re-count in Kansas Shows That the Results Were in Favor of Abortion Rights

Fewer than 100 votes changed as the last county reported results Sunday, confirming a statewide vote in favor of abortion rights in usually conservative Kansas.

At Melissa Leavitt’s request, nine of the state’s 105 counties recounted votes. Mark Gietzen, an anti-abortion campaigner, pays for most of it. Gietzen said it wouldn’t likely influence the outcome.

A negative vote in the referendum meant keeping existing abortion safeguards, while a yes vote allowed the Legislature to restrict or outlaw abortion. “No” lost 87 votes, while “yes” gained 6.

Sedgwick County postponed its final count until Sunday because some ballots weren’t sorted into the correct precincts during the original recount. She stated total voting didn’t change.

Voters defeated a ballot issue on Aug. 2 that would have eliminated abortion protections from the Kansas Constitution and given the Legislature the ability to restrict or outlaw abortion. 18% of 165,000 votes statewide defeated it.

It was the first state referendum on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.

Wichita’s Gietzen and Colby’s Leavitt have both raised difficulties without providing many instances.

Recounts are used to convince a candidate’s or cause’s supporters that an election was stolen. Candidates who supported former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was rigged have called for recounts.

Kansas law demands a recount if petitioners can fund county fees. Counties only pay if results change.

According to the secretary of state’s office, Leavitt and Gietzen paid with credit cards. Leavitt raises money online. Gietzen also receives money from a 30-year-old anti-abortion network.

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Gietzen said Sunday he doesn’t trust the Sedgwick County recount results because of how the ballots were handled and because some of it happened Saturday without outside observers.

Sedgwick County is a mystery. He refused to pay for Sedgwick County.

He’s particularly worried about the statewide results because of a report from Cherokee County, Kansas, where election results were switched between two candidates when transferred on a thumb drive.

Gietzen will sue for a statewide recall on Monday.

Gietzen won’t disclose private donors who helped fund the recount, despite a state ethics official’s request. Gietzen, who leads the Kansas Republican Assembly, says he’s not campaigning for anti-abortion but for election integrity.

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Douglas County, home to the University of Kansas, Johnson County, a Kansas City suburb, Sedgwick County, Wichita, Shawnee County, Topeka, Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas counties recounted votes. Pro-lifers lost all but Thomas.

In Jefferson County, both pro- and anti-amendment votes fell by four. Linda Buttron, the county clerk, blamed not darkening ovals and “hand counting ballots”

Anti-amendment supporters lost in Lyon County. Tammy Vopat, county clerk and election officer, didn’t know. “Human error must be considered,” she said.

Johnson County, Kansas’ most populated, had the most ballots to recount. Different departments helped. Counting didn’t begin until Thursday afternoon because sorting took so long.

Election Commissioner Fred Sherman compared it to finishing an Ironman triathlon and then a marathon. It’s a massive undertaking.