Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a cable news interview Thursday night that he plans to recuse himself from the vote tally process in the face of pressure from Gov. Jeff Colyer and mounting confusion over vote totals. Kobach said that he would recuse himself in an interview with CNN hours after Colyer had sent a letter demanding that Kobach refrain from instructing county election officials on the counting of ballots in the primary race for governor on a day when the vote total narrowed to roughly 100 votes as multiple counties reported that vote totals were incorrect. “I’ll be happy to recuse myself. But as I say, it really doesn’t make any difference. My office doesn’t count the votes. The counties do,” Kobach said in an interview with host Chris Cuomo. Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr told The Star that the governor had not been notified by Kobach or his office that he intended to recuse himself. He said Coyler’s team found out about it through news reports.
“We don’t have an official recusal,” Marr said. “We want to see what that looks like tomorrow. We want to make it’s not a symbolic recusal. The secretary of state has a substantive role in this process and the recusal needs to be substantive.”
Marr added that “on top of the recusal, we’re also asking that the secretary of state stop giving incorrect information to the counties, particularly related to the mail-in ballots.”
Colyer released a letter at 5 p.m. calling on Kobach to recuse himself from providing advice to local election officials. The letter comes after multiple counties reported that the election night totals on the secretary of state’s website were inaccurate, further clouding the results of a historically close election.