News Briefs

Kansas post-election audit shows no signs of foul play in record-breaking election

By: - November 30, 2020 5:24 pm

The Kansas State Board of Canvassers met Monday to certify election results in a year that shattered records for advance advanced by-mail, and in-person turnout and registered voters. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Kansas election officials say the record-breaking 2020 general election avoided any major issues or discrepancies despite unpredictable circumstances amid COVID-19.

The Kansas State Board of Canvassers — composed of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general — met Monday to certify election results in a year that saw historic turnout. This year, 1,373,125 Kansans, or 70.9% of Kansas voters, cast ballots, compared to roughly 1,225,667, or 67.4%, in the 2016 general election.

“Our biggest takeaway is record-setting numbers,” said Katie Koupal, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Scott Schwab. “We saw a record number of ballots cast, a record number of registered voters, a record number of advanced by mail ballot — both sent and returned — so Kansas voters just did a tremendous job in exercising their right to vote.”

More than 830,000 Kansans exercised their voting rights during the advanced voting period, while an additional 544,042 chose to vote on Election Day. 

In addition to the unique circumstances imposed by the pandemic, 2020 is also the first year in which post-election audits have occurred in Kansas for major statewide elections, under a 2019 statute. Results from each county’s audit showed no signs of foul play and indicated that all legitimate votes were accounted for.

Each county audited three races and at least 1% of precincts within their county. All 105 county audits matched election night returns or were able to explain minor discrepancies of one or two votes, Koupal said.

Koupal said the secretary of state’s office would not have been able to execute such a tricky election without terrific local support.

“Our office is so grateful for the local election officials who really went above and beyond and preparing for this historical election and very unusual circumstances,” Koupal said. “We were just very grateful for how well everything went and pleased with how it went.”

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.