GIRARD — A finding of “manifest error” has sent the District 3 Crawford County Commission race into a recount after Tuesday’s canvass.
Democrat Jeremy Johnson and Republican Chad Ulepich still await the outcome of the Crawford County Commission race in the 3rd district.
“Human error” led to inaccurate election results being published by the Crawford County Clerk’s office on election night. Results from five of the county’s 16 polling locations were counted twice, doubling votes for each candidate and resulting in inaccurate results. These results did not include provisional or advanced ballots and showed Ulepich ahead by 83 votes, 2,310 votes to Johnson’s 2,227.
The results were corrected and updated later in the week, resulting in a tie at 1,586 votes each. When advance ballots were added to the count on Nov. 9, Johnson took the lead by four votes, 1,603 to 1,599. Provisional ballots were counted at the canvass, bringing Johnson further into the lead,1,652 votes to Ulepich’s 1,630, a difference of 22 votes.
Johnson said he already processed the prospect of losing the race on election night.
“At this point, I just want to know if I have the job or not,” he said. “I just want what’s best for the county.”
Ulepich cited the scope of the issue as basis for a recount.
“Given the amount of polling places and precincts this has affected, I’d like to ask the commission to do a hand recount,” he said.
According to Kansas law, the county board of canvassers can call for a recount when, “there are manifest errors appearing on the face of the poll books of any election board, which might make a difference in the result of any election.”
Election attorney Vic Miller, of Topeka, who was hired by the county to oversee the canvass, told the board that the terminology is subjective enough for the county to call for a recount if they do not have a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the initial results.
“I think it is a relatively small cost to give the public the confidence that these results are correct,” he said.
The hand recount is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday morning. Crawford County Clerk Don Pyle said the recount will likely require three boards of four people per board to complete the recount in a day. Miller will also be present at the recount.
Since the county called for the recount, the county will absorb the cost. Pyle estimated the cost of the hand recount to be around $2,500.