Little change in Kansas abortion recall; 1 county not done

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Results from eight of nine Kansas counties that recounted ballots found fewer than 35 changed votes from the Aug. 2 election, when voters soundly rejected a proposed amendment that would have removed abortion rights from the state’s constitution.

The counties faced a 5 p.m. Saturday deadline to complete the hand recounts of ballots cast on Aug. 2. Eight counties finished on time but Sedgwick County officials said they would not meet the deadline.

Posted results for the eight counties found a total of 13 fewer votes for those favoring tighter abortion restrictions and 19 fewer votes for those wanting to keep existing abortion rights. Election officials attributed the changes to human error, such as voters making unclear marks on ballots.

A Sedgwick County spokeswoman said Saturday that after the counting was complete, the election commissioner found things she wanted to check again. It was unclear what the problems were or when the county would finish its recount.

The nine counties were required to hand recount the votes at the request of two anti-abortion activists who questioned election procedures but did not provide proof of any specific problems.

Initial statewide tallies showed the proposed amendment, which would have removed protections for abortion rights from the Kansas Constitution and allowed the Legislature to further restrict abortion or ban it, failed by 18 percentage points, or 165,000 votes.

Votes were recounted in Douglas County, home to the University of Kansas’ main campus; Johnson County, in suburban Kansas City; Sedgwick County, home to Wichita; Shawnee County, home to Topeka; and Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas counties. Abortion opponents lost all of those counties except Thomas.

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