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Recount May Be Called For In Tight Kansas Race For Governor

Aug 9, 2018
Originally published on August 9, 2018 1:30 pm
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

After a very tight primary vote, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is narrowly leading in his bid to unseat Republican Governor Jeff Colyer. The results still aren't official, but the tiny margin of victory means there is the potential for a recount. And Kris Kobach says he will not recuse himself if that happens. Here's Stephen Koranda of the Kansas News Service.

STEPHEN KORANDA, BYLINE: The race is still incredibly close, with Kobach leading by fewer than 200 votes out of more than 300,000 ballots.

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KRIS KOBACH: One hundred ninety-one votes - what an exciting night it was, what an exciting race.

KORANDA: That's Kobach speaking to reporters the day after the election. He's the state's top elections official. And if there's a recount, Kobach says he would not need to recuse himself.

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KOBACH: It's an issue that is endemic to having an elected secretary of state. And of course, there are safeguards in there because the secretary of state's office is not the sole office looking at these.

KORANDA: Kobach says one of those safeguards is that much of the work is done by the counties.

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KOBACH: The secretary of state's office, it merely serves as a coordinating entity overseeing it all but not actually counting the votes.

KORANDA: Kobach would also get to determine the cost of a recount, which would be paid by whoever calls for it. Governor Colyer is hoping the outcome could change when results are finalized. He will not say whether he'll call for a recount or whether Kobach should recuse himself.

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JEFF COLYER: We're not there yet. We need to get ready for the first count. And we want to make sure that every vote - every legitimate vote is counted.

KORANDA: Chris Biggs is a Democrat and the former secretary of state that Kobach defeated to take over the job. Biggs says overseeing your own election is part of the office. But if he were in this situation, he'd look for some outside help to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.

CHRIS BIGGS: If there is a way to somehow get some independent referee or voice or someone involved that would eliminate any questions, I would certainly consider looking into that.

KORANDA: It will be around a week before mail-in and provisional ballots are counted. Then, there could be consideration of a recount. For NPR News, I'm Stephen Koranda in Topeka, Kan.

(SOUNDBITE OF METRO AREA'S "MIURA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.