Nine Kansas counties will recount votes this week for the state’s abortion rights ballot measure, a long-running effort after the measure fell short in a landslide vote – which fell short of the statewide recount that anti-abortion advocates had wanted because they couldn’t put enough money in to fund recounts in every county.
Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected the “Value Them Both” ballot measure on August 2, which would have amended the state Constitution to say it does not protect the right to abortion and would have given legislators the authorization to restrict or prohibit abortion.
Kansas resident Melissa Leavitt, who describes herself as an “election integrity advocate,” demanded a recount before the Friday deadline and posted $200,000 bond to pay it, and the office of the secretary of Kansas State has confirmed that the state will proceed with the recount as a result, the Kansas City Star reported.
Under Kansas law, voters can request a recount of ballot measures, but they must show they can pay if it doesn’t actually change the results, though any county where the result changes will absorb the cost ( the total amount needed is dependent on the number of counties in which the recount is requested).
Anti-abortion activist Mark Geitzen offered to fund the effort on Leavitt’s behalf and told the Star he’ll do “whatever it takes” to fund the recount — because the bail Leavitt posted isn’t the same as actually paying it — but the state on Monday rejected Geitzen’s attempt to pay the bail by posting assets as collateral, such as his home, and said the $230,000 bond must be paid by Monday in cash or credit for the recount to take place.
Only $120,000 was ultimately paid out to the state, largely to Geitzen’s credit card, reports the Associated Press, so the recount will only take place in nine of the state’s 105 counties: Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Douglas, Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon, and Thomas counties (only Thomas County voted in favor of the abortion amendment, while the others voted against).
The nine counties will cover more than half of the votes cast in the ballot measures race, according to the AP — as it includes major cities like Wichita and Topeka and suburban Kansas City — and the Secretary of State’s office. set a Saturday deadline for counties to finish recounting their ballots.
165,389. That’s the number of votes by which the ballot measure was defeated, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, as 59% of voters were against the constitutional amendment and 41% were in favor. Leavitt alleged on the recount’s fundraising page that she had “seen data” suggesting there were “irregularities” in the vote totals, but did not elaborate on that claim, nor did he There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the Kansas elections to support his claims.
The recount effort is not supported by the Value Them Both Coalition, which led the campaign to pass the constitutional amendment. “Every citizen has the right to request recounts, but our goal now is to advance the cause of life in Kansas, without backtracking on August 2,” a spokesperson told Fox 4.
The recount will be the first on a statewide ballot measure in Kansas in 30 years, Kansas State Chief Electoral Officer Bryan Caskey told the AP after the first request for a recount .
The vote on the Kansas ballot measure marked the first major test of voters’ sentiments on abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. Kansas is one of the increasingly few Republican-majority states where abortion remains legal, as the Kansas Supreme Court previously upheld procedural protections, preventing lawmakers from enacting new bans. Had the constitutional amendment passed, it would have reversed that court ruling and paved the way for further restrictions. The ballot measure’s overwhelming failure — a surprise result, after polls predicted the amendment would narrowly pass — was seen as a sign of voters’ overwhelming support for abortion rights and aversion for banning abortion, even in states where the GOP dominates. The Kansas election could be a harbinger of votes to come, as more abortion-related ballot measures and races that could shape state and federal abortion policies will be on the ballots. vote across the country in November.
Abortion haters use their credit cards to get a partial Kansas recount (Associated Press)
Kansas plans to recount vote on abortion amendment, despite proposal’s landslide defeat (Kansas City Star)
Kansas to recount abortion vote by hand, despite wide margin (Associated Press)
The Republican group’s credit card was offered to pay for the Kansas abortion amendment recount (Kansas City Star)
Abortion will remain legal in Kansas as ballot measure to amend Constitution fails (Forbes)