The chances of a Kansas voter’s ballot being counted might depend on which county he or she lives in — especially if they vote by mail. The issue of counties having different standards for determining whether a ballot should be counted came up last week (Monday) during a meeting of the State Objections Board, where Davis Hammet of Topeka objected to Republican Kris Kobach’s victory in the Aug. 7 GOP primary for governor. Hammet’s objections involved how the election was administered and whether the varying standards could have influenced the outcome of a race that Kobach won over Gov. Jeff Colyer by less than 350 votes. Hammet noted Johnson County rejected 153 mail-in ballots because the signature on the envelope used to mail the ballot back to the county did not match the voter’s signature on file in the county election office. In contrast, Shawnee and Douglas counties’ election officials didn’t reject any ballots because of mismatched signatures, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.
“This means either Johnson County erroneously rejected these ballots, or there is massive voter fraud in Johnson County,” Hammet told the board. “If the board rules that my objection is wrong and that Johnson County’s rejection is correct, then, given the discrepancy between Johnson County and Shawnee County, it can reasonably be presumed that Shawnee County and other counties improperly allowed fraudulent votes.”
Hammet also noted Kansas doesn’t require county officials to verify signatures when voters mail back their ballots. They are required to do so only when the voter fills out a form requesting an advance ballot by mail.
The Objections Board rejected the argument that county officials should not verify ballot signatures. Deputy Secretary of State Eric Rucker said that while the law does not require verifying signatures on advance ballot envelopes, it does say election officers have a duty to challenge ballots when there is reason to believe the people casting them are not who they say they are, and a mismatched signature can be evidence of that.