Politics & Government

Kansas voter turnout was ‘surprisingly high,’ Kobach says

Kansans voted in record numbers in the November election, with more than 1 million people casting ballots.

The turnout was the highest in a non-presidential election since a federal voter registration law went into effect in the mid-90s, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Friday.

“Really, surprisingly high number as well, frankly,” Kobach said.

The State Board of Canvassers — which includes Kobach — certified the general election results on Friday. Kobach, the Republican candidate for governor, lost to Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly.

Kobach voted to certify the results, along with the other members of the board, but first spoke about what he called the “extraordinary turnout.”

In total, 1,061,174 people voted, for a turnout of 57.6 percent. By comparison, turnout in the 2014 election was 51 percent and 50 percent in 2010.

In the governor’s race, Kobach lost to Kelly 49.37 percent to 41.95 percent.

Kobach, who embraced President Donald Trump during the campaign, said Friday that he has spoken to Trump since the election, but refused to say how often or whether the two had discussed potential jobs within the administration. Kobach has previously been in the running for positions in the Department of Homeland Security.

Kobach did say he has not traveled to Washington, D.C., since the election.

Kobach remains secretary of state until January.

Jonathan Shorman covers Kansas politics and the Legislature for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. He’s been covering politics for six years, first in Missouri and now in Kansas. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.