Kobach firmer about staying out of vote count

Posted: Updated:
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

The Latest on the close and unresolved Republican primary race in Kansas between Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he will remove himself from the further counting of votes in his tight Republican primary race with Gov. Jeff Colyer.

But he said Thursday night that the move will be "symbolic," adding that counties do the work of counting ballots.

Kobach leads Colyer by 121 votes, a minuscule number compared with the 311,000 ballots cast in Tuesday's election. County officials have yet to count some ballots.

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Colyer demanded Thursday that Kobach stop advising county election officials.

Kobach told host Lou Dobbs on his Fox Business show that he would consider removing himself to make Colyer "feel good."

Later, facing questions from CNN host Chris Cuomo, Kobach said Colyer wants him to remove from further counting, "So I will."

Click here for primary election results.

7:30 p.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he is willing to consider formally removing himself from the further counting of votes in his tight Republican primary race with Gov. Jeff Colyer.

But he said Thursday evening that he would be doing it just to make Colyer "feel good."

Kobach leads Colyer by 121 votes, a minuscule number compared with the 311,000 ballots cast in Tuesday's election. County officials have yet to count some mail-in ballots and provisional ballots given to voters at the polls when their eligibility to vote was in question.

Colyer demanded Thursday that Kobach stop advising county election officials.

Kobach told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs that his role in the counting of votes is very small, and removing himself from the process would be "symbolic."

5:40 p.m.

Another Kansas county has revised its vote totals in a move that increased Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's margin over Gov. Jeff Colyer to 121 votes for the Republican nomination for governor.

Deputy Haskell County Clerk Emily Aragon says that the county was still missing a precinct when it sent initial results to the secretary of state's office Tuesday night. The county sent updated results later that night, but hundreds of new votes were not made public until Thursday.

Colyer received 220 votes in Haskell County, up from the 103 previously reported. Kobach received 257 votes, up from 110 previously reported.

The net change in Haskell County is 30 votes in favor of Kobach, which moves his margin from 91 to 121 votes.

The results are still unofficial until the canvass board meets next week.

5:30 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer is calling on Secretary of State Kris Kobach to stop advising county election officials while their tight Republican primary race remains unsettled.

Colyer sent Kobach a letter Thursday that accuses him of giving county election officials guidance that is "inconsistent with Kansas law" about handling mailed-in and other ballots.

Colyer said in the letter that Kobach should have Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a fellow Republican, provide advice to county election officials instead.

Kobach led Colyer by 91 votes out of 311,000 following their hotly-contested primary election Tuesday. Some absentee and other ballots remain to be counted.

Colyer released the letter after his campaign announced that it had set up a "voting integrity hotline" and his spokesman said it had fielded "countless" complaints about problems.

Kobach's spokeswoman was not available by phone and did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

2:50 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's campaign has set up a "voting integrity" telephone hotline as his close Republican primary race with Secretary of State Kris Kobach remains unsettled.

Colyer's campaign announced the hotline Thursday. Spokesman Kendall Marr said it had received "countless" reports of voters experiencing issues at the polls.

Kobach is the state's chief elections officers and told reporters Wednesday that he knew of no reports of irregularities outside of a long delay in the reporting of results from the state's most populous county because of issues with its new machines.

Colyer's campaign announced the new hotline as election officials confirmed that a mistake shorted Colyer's vote total for another county in the state's results by 100 votes.

The discovery of the mistake cut Kobach's lead to 91 votes.

1:42 p.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary has been cut by more than half after election officials discovered a mistake in the listing for one county's results in the state's tally.

The mistake means Kobach's lead has fallen to only 91 votes from 191 when final results were reported after Tuesday's primary.

Final, unofficial results on the secretary of state's website show Kobach winning Thomas County in northwest Kansas with 466 votes to Colyer's 422.

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But the tally posted by the Thomas County clerk shows Colyer with 522 votes. Clerk Shelly Harms confirmed the figure Thursday to The Associated Press.

State elections director Bryan Caskey said the county pointed out the discrepancy Thursday following a routine post-election check of numbers.

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