If Kansas counties underestimated abortion recount cost, they must pay the difference

Katie Bernard and Chance Swaim, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Political News

Taxpayer dollars will likely be spent on the voter-imposed recount of Kansas’ landslide abortion rights ballot initiative.

Wichita anti-abortion activist Mark Gietzen and Colby election denier Melissa Leavitt put up a roughly $120,000 bond Monday to cover the cost of a full hand recount in nine of Kansas’ 105 counties.

The cost was established by estimates provided by county election offices to Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s office. If a county exceeds its estimate, however, the county government will be responsible for covering the difference.

Two of the nine counties say they have already exceeded their estimates, or expect to do so by Saturday.

The recount, which began Tuesday and must be finished by Saturday, is virtually guaranteed to fail in changing the outcome of the election. Kansans rejected the amendment 59% to 41%, a gap of more than 165,000 votes.

Nevertheless, it has resulted in extra work for election officials and additional costs for some counties.


Lyon County Clerk Tammy Vopat said the county, which completed its recount Wednesday, had not kept below their $480 estimate. She did not say how far off the county was.

Johnson County, the state’s most populous county, is still midway through its count but county spokeswoman Theresa Freed said in an email Thursday that the county expected to exceed its $74,500 estimate.

Sedgwick County’s election office does not yet know what the recount effort will cost in the state’s second most populous county. The office gave the state a $31,800 estimate.

Election officials in Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson and Thomas counties said they expected to stay within their cost estimates, while Douglas and Shawnee county officials said it is too early to know.


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