Though much of the uncertainty about the U.S. Senate race stems from Democrat Chad Taylor’s last-minute decision to withdraw, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his appointed county election commissioners must ensure there will be no doubt about the final tally in that or other contests. Confidence already is wobbly, including in Sedgwick County.
Some reasons for worry:
▪ Kobach ordered Friday that more than 500 ballots be mailed by the next day, as per federal law, to overseas civilians and military personnel. But he included a disclaimer that new ballots would be printed if the courts agreed with his position that Democrats must name a replacement for Taylor.
That scenario looked less likely Tuesday; the Kansas Supreme Court ordered that the voter’s lawsuit that could lead to such a ruling be transferred to Shawnee County District Court for what could be time-consuming fact-finding.
But will the overseas voters know what to make of Kobach’s elaborate disclaimer, and whether to fill out and return their tentative ballots or wait for corrected ballots that may never come? Or will the whole mess – with talk of revoting and a possible post-Election Day deadline – deter them from exercising their right to vote entirely?
▪ The Johnson County Election Office mailed 67 ballots with Taylor’s name Sept. 18, even before the state Supreme Court had issued its ruling upholding his withdrawal from the race. The office sent replacements the next day, with County Election Commissioner Brian Newby acknowledging he had been “probably a little too eager” in releasing the ballots. But the potential for voters’ confusion exists, especially if a court requires Democrats to name a new Senate candidate and a third ballot must go out.
▪ The Sedgwick County Election Office included a wrong date for the general election in e-mails to 33 overseas and military voters Saturday, telling recipients to “vote this ballot and return it to us no later than 7 p.m. on August 5th, 2014.”
Full Article: Room for ballot error? | The Wichita Eagle.