Kansas Republican candidates say they will accept election results — with caveats

Proponents of 2020 election fraud allegations say they support Kansas election security

By: - October 27, 2022 8:21 am
Voters fill out ballots

Voters fill out advanced ballots Oct. 25, 2022, at the Shawnee County Election Office in Topeka. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Kansas Republican candidates on the November ballot say they will accept the results of the election whether they win or lose, though some have added caveats to this acceptance.

In Kansas, several lawmakers have called into question voter integrity, and election deniers forced a recount of votes in the August primary over the rejection of an abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution.

Election fraud has been a hot-button Republican talking point since 2020, when former President Donald Trump promoted false claims of voting fraud before and after President Joe Biden won the election.

Though there has been no evidence to support Trump’s claims, his supporters both at local and national levels have clung to the idea that elections are rigged. U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and U.S. Reps. Jake LaTurner, Ron Estes and Tracey Mann voted to overturn the presidential election.

LaTurner, Estes and Mann are all up for reelection on the November ballot. LaTurner said he would accept the results, but Estes and Mann have not responded to inquiries as to whether they would uphold Kansas election results if they lose.

Federal officials have announced plans to install oversight of the Kansas voting process. A district election officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas will field Election Day complaints, voting rights concerns and election fraud issues. A spokeswoman for the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office said the federal oversight is routine.

Gov. Laura Kelly said she was expecting some opposition from election deniers across the state. 

“I’m sure that there will be scattered across the state of Kansas people who won’t like the results and therefore not accept them in their own mind,” Kelly said Tuesday at the Shawnee County Election Office, after casting her vote.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt also said he would accept the results of the election.

“Of course, once it’s certified, yes,” Schmidt said.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Dennis Pyle said he wants a complete audit of election results.

“Upon completion of a full forensic audit, I will accept the results when it is demonstrated no unlawful votes were cast. The people want to know their vote is secure and no vote has been suppressed,” Pyle said in a statement.

Secretary of State Scott Schwab, the state’s top elections officer, has reiterated the security of the 2020 Kansas elections multiple times when other members of his party cast doubt over ballot accuracy.

Schwab is running against Democrat Jeanna Repass for reelection to his position.

Secretary Schwab and county election officials work hard to ensure trusted results, and all Kansans can trust the results of the election,” Schwab’s campaign said in a statement.

Kris Kobach, who held the Secretary of State’s Office from 2011-2019, pushed legislation that he said would increase election security, including an unconstitutional law requiring residents to prove their citizenship before registering to vote. The law cost the state $1.9 million in legal fees and prevented more than 30,000 eligible residents from voting.

Kobach is currently running for the Attorney General’s Office and has said he will accept the results of the November election — as long as he did not see evidence of election fraud. Kobach faces Democrat Chris Mann in this year’s attorney general race.

“Yes, absolutely,” Kobach said. “Short of there being obvious fraud or something like that.”

Kobach didn’t specify what obvious fraud would look like.

Amanda Adkins, the Republican candidate challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, said she believes in the Kansas election process.

“As Amanda has said before, she believes the Kansas election system is strong. We look forward to watching the process play out to ensure every vote is counted accurately,” campaign spokesman Will Coup said in a statement. 

Other Republicans on the ballot, Kansas Rep. Steven Johnson, who is running for state treasurer, and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, didn’t respond to Kansas Reflector inquiries.

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Rachel Mipro
Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.