Elections

Outcome of 88th District, District 4 Commission races remains same after canvass

Canvass board member Dave Unruh, left, and Karl Peterjohn check a manual vote during the vote canvass at the Historic County Courthouse on Thursday.
Canvass board member Dave Unruh, left, and Karl Peterjohn check a manual vote during the vote canvass at the Historic County Courthouse on Thursday. The Wichita Eagle

The outcome of two close races – House District 88 and Sedgwick County Commission District 4 – remained the same after election workers reviewed about 4,000 provisional ballots Thursday.

Joseph Scapa, the Republican contender for the 88th District, got 28 more votes than his opponent for a total of 2,615. Democrat Patricia Sloop received 2,587 total votes, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman announced after the vote canvass. They had been 48 votes apart going into Thursday.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau, a Republican, remained ahead of Democrat Melody McCray-Miller with 12,248 votes to her 11,798, a difference of 450 votes. They had been apart by 554 votes. McCray-Miller said she did not plan to ask for a recount.

The Eagle was unable to reach Sloop on Thursday night to see if she would request a recount.

Lehman said voter turnout for the Nov. 4 general election was just more than 52 percent, with 144,228 residents casting a ballot.

When the canvass board convened Thursday morning, Lehman told them the vast majority of provisional ballots would count. They were cast by people who changed their names or moved. Some went to the wrong polling location. In the latter case, only some of their votes were counted.

At the end of the day, when the board reconvened, 3,503 were counted as valid, Lehman said.

Lehman told canvass members that 97 people did not provide proof of citizenship in time. The canvass board voted not to count those votes.

About 140 ballots were affected by errors on the part of poll workers, such as using an address on a driver’s license instead of the address given verbally and paper ballots accidentally being counted as provisional. The Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, a Washington, D.C., group, sent a letter to Lehman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach urging the county to count the votes of people whose addresses in poll books were different than what was on their driver’s license or other form of identification. Addresses do not need to match under election rules.

“We want to make sure all of those ballots get counted,” Lehman told the canvass board Thursday morning.

About 42 residents provided proof of citizenship between the time poll books were printed and the deadline to do so, which was by midnight the day before the election.

“They did provide citizenship during the legal amount of time,” Lehman told canvass members, suggesting that those votes be counted.

About 150 mail-in ballots arrived the next day, and those won’t be counted. Six people voted who arrived at the polls after 7 p.m. and weren’t in line by then. Their votes won’t be counted, the board determined.

Lehman said 33 people did not provide a photo identification. The canvass board voted not to count their votes.

Four people cast ballots using a federal form. Lehman recommended counting their votes on federal races only.

Lehman held up three boxes of ballots cast by people who were not registered to vote. Their votes weren’t counted.

The canvass board was made up of Sedgwick County Commissioners Karl Peterjohn, Jim Skelton and Dave Unruh; Register of Deeds Bill Meek; and Lisa Corr, an assistant in the commission office. Ranzau recused himself because of his race. County Counselor Rich Euson sat in to give legal advice.

Several observers watched the vote count and attended the canvass board meetings.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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