Ballot Mix-Up Could Change Race Outcome

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A case of incorrectly issued ballots could turn the tide on one House District race.

The ballot mix-up affected two races in particular, the 52nd and the 56th district house race.

After last nights ballots were counted, Dr. Shanti Gandhi led fellow Republican Dick Jones by just 41 votes in the 52nd District House race.

"Since I knew it was going to be that close, I was not celebrating too much," Gandhi said.

Not only close, but now it seems it's too close to call.

As many as 315 voters received incorrect ballots at the Light of the World Christian Church polling place.

The Shawnee County Election Commission in a statement said it was alerted to the problem of an incorrect ballot being handed over Tuesday morning. After an extensive discussion with the supervising judge, an election official observed the action and the situation appeared resolved, the statement said. But in the afternoon, Shawnee County Election Commissioner Elizabeth Ensley Deiter said she also observed that some voters were not given the correct ballot.

Ensley Deiter relieved the supervising judge of her duties that same day.

"This is the first time in twenty years that the Election Commissioner has experienced this situation," the statement said.

Shanti Gandhi says the mistake was bound to happen.

"I absolutely think it's an honest mistake, because of all this redistricting probem. Now is it acceptable? I don't know how much care they took tackle the problem, i'm sure they're working very hard," he said. "But the election office is totally riddled with problems from all over the place because of redistricting," he said.

Dick Jones says the issue is not so much who ends up winning, but whose vote didn't count.

"There are no innocent mistakes or small mistakes when it comes to the public's right to vote. So I think it's a lot more serious than a lot of officials give credit for."

Both candidates say they're waiting for the County Canvassing Board to look into the matter and, despite the mix-up, they feel positive about the overall campaign and their opponents.

Jones said regardless of the outcome, running for office is something every American should attempt at least once.

The other race that was affected by the ballot mix-up, the 56th District Republican House Race had Janet Mitchell winning over LaVern Abney with 80 percent of the vote, so that outcome is unlikely to be overturned.