County election workers will likely review ballots all weekend

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Inside the Butler County Elections Office, workers are still counting ballots. The County Clerk, Tatum Stafford, said she's constantly referring to a binder of policies and procedures. 

Tuesday was her first election as the clerk. And while she'd worked in the office for plenty of elections in recent years, she never dreamt that the first one she ran would turn out the way the Kansas GOP Primary has.

"I'm so nervous to do a recount, because there may be a recount," Stafford said. "We'll know by next Friday."

She and her staff plan to work at the office all weekend reviewing mail-in ballots, that were due to offices on Friday. It's not just her office either, elections offices in each of the state's 105 counties will all be processing mail-in ballots until they're all reviewed.

Tatum said that additionally the few envelopes with smudged or unreadable postmarks, she's been taking to a local post office to verify the date complies with election law.

"We try avenue, we will go to the Post Office or do whatever we can do to make sure that it was postmarked," she said. "We have to have this done by Monday. "Because we have a board, a canvassing board, which is our county commissioner to sit there and tally votes."

Canvassing has come under some scrutiny as well, with Gov. Colyer's campaign released Friday "We are aware the Secretary of State's office is advising county clerks to discard mail in ballots that the law is clear should be counted."

Colyer Spokesperson Kendall Marr also wrote, "County canvass boards have a critical role to play in this process."

Hours later, Secretary Kobach's campaign responded, "Your campaign letter expresses incorrect allegations that my office has given inaccurate advice to local election officials regarding the handling and counting of mail-in and provisional ballots."

Attorney General Eric Schmidt is also urging county election officials to keep every document, both paper and electronic, for something called a litigation hold. He sent the letter to county election officers and county legal counsel Friday afternoon.

"No one should destroy any paper files, notes, or electronic data related in any way to the August 7 election," Schmidt wrote in a release. "This demand applies to your county, it's election officials and staff. And it includes any platform on which relevant electronic data might reside - for example, county servers, laptop and desktop computers, iPads, third-party servers (like Hotmail and Gmail), smartphones, text messages, surveillance tapes, etc."

Back at the Butler County office, Stafford's workers are looking ahead to Monday's deadline, as the political issues outside the office continue to loom.

"We'll be ready," she said. "We'll be working all weekend but we'll be ready."