Incumbent Toplikar loses 'YouTube' Joco race after final vote count

After counting provisional ballots, Johnson County election officials announced this morning that Calvin Hayden remained the winner of his political race against incumbent County Commissioner John Toplikar.

Toplikar is the candidate whom Olathe police cited, late in the campaign, with misdemeanor theft for allegedly taking Hayden’s campaign signs. A video — posted on YouTube — showed him with his opponent’s signs, and Toplikar later said he shouldn’t have taken them.

With the addition of provisional ballots, the final, official count was 17,952 for Hayden and 17,910 for Toplikar. The previous unofficial tally had Toplikar was trailing by 52 votes — 17,580-17,632.

No representative of the Toplikar campaign was at the vote canvas on Tuesday morning. Toplikar has not told election officials whether he wants to challenge the final vote total.

Provisional ballots did not change the outcome of another close race — between Kansas State Rep. Gene Rardin, a Democrat, and Republican Jim Yonally.

The new count is 5,522 for Rardin and 5,432 for Yonally.

Rardin had been up by 77 votes — 5,384 to Yonally’s 5,297.

Provisional ballots are paper votes that are cast when a voter’s registration or eligibility to vote is in question.

On Monday, members of the County Commission, who also serve as the Board of Canvassers, approved 5,280 ballots to be counted and rejected 2,918 provisional ballots countywide— many because the voters were not registered, did not complete information or were first-time voters without valid identification.