Scaled-back recounts move forward on abortion rights amendment, GOP State Treasurer race

Kansas Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment
Kansas Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment(MGN)
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:13 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Recounts will move forward on both the Value Them Both Amendment and the Republican State Treasurer race, but on smaller scales than both initial requests.

The Secretary of State’s Office said late Monday that Melissa Leavitt has now asked for a hand recount in nine counties. The request includes Crawford, Douglas, Harvey, Jefferson, Johnson, Lyon, Sedgwick, Shawnee, and Thomas counties. They say she has provided a bond of $119,644 to begin the process.

Leavitte, from Colby, initially filed a request Friday for a full, statewide hand recount. The Secretary of State’s Office accepted a credit card to temporarily secure the bond, then hours later provided her a $229,334.35 total amount for the bond.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, early Monday, Leavitt provided Mark Gietzen’s financial assets to back the bond, which the office denied and gave her until 5 p.m. Monday to come up with a new financial source. Gietzen is founder of the anti-abortion group Kansas Coalition for Life.

The Value Them Both amendment would have made clear the Kansas Constitution does not grant the right to an abortion. It failed by about 165,000 votes.

A recount in the race to become the Republican nominee for State Treasurer also will move ahead with a reduced scope.

Sen. Caryn Tyson narrowed her request Monday from 55 counties to six. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Cloud, Harvey, McPherson and Ottawa counties will do full hand recounts. Dickinson and Barton counties will recount advance ballots only, plus all ballots for the city of Great Bend. They say Tyson provided a bond of $2,570.54 to cover her request.

In filing her original request last Friday, Tyson said she was focusing on counties that had audit discrepancies, missing results or machine malfunctions. The amount to pay for her initial filing was just over $42,000.

Rep. Steve Johnson’s lead over Tyson was narrowing as the state’s three largest counties canvassed their provisional ballots and reported final tallies Monday. Johnson started the day 324 votes ahead. Tyson posted net gains of 12 votes in Sedgwick Co., 13 votes in Shawnee Co. and 172 votes in Johnson Co., narrowing Johnson’s lead to 127.

Monday was the last day for counties to canvass and finalize results. The Secretary of State’s Office said it would not have updated numbers reflecting all counties reporting until Tuesday.

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