TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka area's 54th Kansas House District will have a new representative come January.
Following a vote canvass that ended late Thursday night in Shawnee County, Republican Ken Corbet emerged victorious over Democratic incumbent Ann Mah by just 21 votes.
The final tally was 5394 for Corbet, 5373 for Mah. Mah did pick up 49 votes in Shawnee County to Corbet's 28, but it wasn't enough to close the gap when combined with votes in the Osage and Douglas County areas of the district.
Mah and Corbet were on hand for much of the day watching proceedings at the Shawnee County Election Office. The Shawnee County Commission convened as the Board of Canvassers around 9 am and worked until 1:30 pm, then adjourned until 8 pm. The final totals came in just after 11 pm.
The board approved the majority of the 2244 provisional ballots cast in Shawnee County during its morning session.
"It's going pretty good. They've got an enormous amount of help today," Corbet said. "And you've gotta give it to the election people, because it's a lot of work." he said.
Corbet was leading Mah by 44 votes before Thursday's counts in Shawnee and Douglas counties.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Mah received a net gain of two votes from provisional ballots, narrowing the gap to 42 votes. Osage County certified its vote Monday.
Despite the painstakingly slow process, candidates agree it needs to be done.
"The process is going the way it should, people's votes are being counted and given every consideration and that's all you can ask for," Mah said.
The long afternoon and evening break for the canvassers allowed elections staff to find additional information.
"We have gone through most of those but there are a few that we've requested permission to open up the pacakge," election commissioner Andrew Howell said. "We believe that there's more information [in there] that may help us count even more votes."