Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 17, 11 a.m.
Workers at the Johnson County Election Office on Wednesday morning began recounting by hand more than 256,000 ballots cast in the Aug. 2 primary on a constitutional abortion amendment that was soundly defeated.
Driving the news: The Value Them Both amendment failed by a wide margin with nearly 60% of voters statewide rejecting the measure that would have stripped abortion rights from the Kansas constitution, but anti-abortion activists cobbled together nearly $120,000 to fund a recount of votes in nine counties, including Johnson County.
- In Johnson County, the margin of defeat for the amendment was even greater with nearly 69% of voters here casting ballots for the “No” side.
The process: At a news conference Tuesday, Johnson County Election Commissioner Fred Sherman said a group of 30 to 35 workers had already begun sorting 256,869 paper ballots into precinct order to begin the recount.
- Wednesday will mark the beginning of the actual hand count, which Sherman said will require 150 election workers on site from roughly 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Votes will be counted by individual precinct and will include provisional ballots, he said.
- The election office has until Saturday to complete the recount and report results from each of the 547 precincts from which votes on the amendment came.
- After the office finishes the recount, the county canvassing board will reconvene to certify the results once again.
- The Johnson County Election Office posted this video to social media Tuesday, explaining the recount process in more detail:
Johnson County is one of nine counties in the state to perform a recount regarding the constitutional amendment on the primary ballot. Learn more about the recount process in this video. https://t.co/9ZWnnXc4DG
— Johnson County Election Office (@jocoelection) August 16, 2022
What they’re saying: “This is almost like doing an Ironman triathlon and having to add on another marathon at the end,” Sherman said. “It is quite a gargantuan process, but it is part of the election process and procedures here in the state of Kansas.”
How it got here: Anti-abortion activists, spearheaded by a woman from Colby, Kan., initially tried to raise enough money for a statewide recount on the abortion question — which would have cost $229,300, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.
- The activists did not meet that deadline for raising the funds for a full statewide recount, but by 5 p.m. on Monday, they were able to pay $119,600, which was enough to pay for a partial recount, covering nine counties, including Johnson, Douglas and Sedgwick counties.
- The recount will cost Johnson County roughly $75,000, which county election commissioner Fred Sherman said will be reimbursed through the Secretary of State’s office.