The narrow margin in at least one Roeland Park city council election Tuesday puts it back in the undecided category because the number of provisional ballots exceeds the lead held by the unofficial winning candidate.
Michael Poppa beat JoAnna Rush by only five votes in Tuesday’s election, 289-284. However, the Johnson County Election Office said Wednesday that for the Ward 4 seat, 15 provisional ballots were cast. That puts the certainty of the election in doubt until all of the provisional ballots are reviewed and those that are determined valid are counted. That will happen next Monday when the Board of Canvassers meets.
Provisional ballots are cast when some question arises about the validity of the ballot. That could be the voter does not show up in the poll book, does not have an ID when they show up to vote or they had also requested a mail ballot – among other reasons. Voters are allowed to cast a provisional ballot which is sealed in an envelope until the circumstances can be researched and it is determined to be valid or invalid. Provisional ballots are not counted in the unofficial results posted Tuesday.
Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby said six provisional ballots were cast in the Ward 3 election as well. In that race, Erin Thompson beat Linda Mau by nine votes, 201-192, so the provisional ballots will not change the election outcome.
In each of the wards, Newby said, four of the provisional ballots are by mail. He said two others in Ward 4 are unlikely to count because of the circumstances, leaving 13 votes likely in play.
Newly said provisional ballots have a history of following the results in the unofficial count. In order to get to at least a tie vote, Rush would need to win 10 of the 15 provisional ballots, if they all were allowed.