Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement in connection with the canvassing of votes from the primary election. The canvassing process, through which official vote tallies are determined, will begin next week and will be conducted county-by-county:
“With only a handful of votes separating the two leading Republican candidates for governor after the initial tally, as well as other close races in parts of our state, Kansans have a heightened focus on the integrity and accuracy of the process of finalizing the vote counts from Tuesday’s primary election. It is vital that Kansans have full confidence that all lawful votes are accurately counted, and that only lawful votes are counted. To achieve that confidence, the next steps in the counting process itself – a step called ‘canvassing’—must be conducted transparently in accordance with law.
“Pursuant to state law, there will be a local canvass in each of the state’s 105 counties. Each local canvass will be conducted by a local board of canvassers. Each local board may meet as soon as next Monday, August 13, although state law gives local officials limited discretion to delay their meeting to a later date.
“Therefore, I remind all Kansans that each board of canvassers is a public body subject to the requirements of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. The canvassing process is designed to be transparent and may be observed by the public. Any person may request advance notice of when and where a board of canvassers will meet, and persons wishing to do so should contact the county election officer in the county for which they desire notice. Information about what the Kansas Open Meetings Act requires, or does not require, is available at www.ag.ks.gov/open-gov.
“Any suspected violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act by a board of canvassers may be reported to the local county or district attorney or to the Office of the Attorney General. The law strictly limits the time after the meeting during which any action of the board may be set aside if a violation of KOMA is proven, so any complaints seeking investigation should be filed immediately. Complaints may be filed with the Office of the Attorney General at www.ag.ks.gov/open-gov or by calling (888) 428-8436 to request a paper complaint form. Our Open Government Enforcement Unit will make it a priority to respond promptly to any complaints arising from the canvassing process.
“I want to emphasize that I trust the honesty and integrity of local and state election officials involved in this process and that I am providing this information to help ensure public confidence in the election results and not to cast doubt upon any of those officials.”