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Briggs declared tentative winner in House 76th District race

Now that the recounting process for the 76th House Democratic primary, we have a winner....by one vote. Just one.


Lyon County announced that a human error was made during the original primary election back on August 2. After the recount, Kelly Atherton wins Lyon County by the total votes of 198-127, not the original 198-126. This means that since the other counties had the same results after the recount, Teresa Briggs tentatively wins the election 398-397. 

The extra vote Briggs received in the Lyon County recount came from an overseas vote. This was accidentally not recorded by Lyon County officials during the August 2 primary.

County Clerk Tammy Vopat says there were nine separate countings Thursday, including twice through the entire stack of votes, before announcing the final total.

Coffey and Osage counties had no changes in their respective vote totals.

The recount follows the Aug. 2 primary and then official vote canvasses earlier this week in all three counties.

The state board of canvassers will meet Sept. 1 to go through the votes. As of now, Briggs will face Republican Eric Smith in the general election Nov. 8. It's not official for Briggs, though, until the state board of canvassers meets to go through the recount themselves. 

1:15 pm Tuesday: Recount dates, times listed for House 76th District race


All three counties involved in the House 76th District recount on the Democrat side have finalized their plans for the special counting process to come.


Osage County will start its recount at 1 pm Wednesday, with Coffey County beginning its recount at 10 am Thursday and Lyon County starts its recount at 1 pm Thursday.


A hand recount was requested Tuesday by Kelly Atherton after the primary election last week and the official vote canvasses earlier this week led to a dead heat between her and Teresa Briggs at 397 votes apiece. Both Atherton and Briggs are hoping to avoid a coin flip, which is a possibility. If the state board of canvassers is still recording a tie after its meeting Sept. 1, it then decides by lot which candidate advances to the general election.


5:30 pm Tuesday: Atherton recount request granted by Secretary of State


Kelly Atherton is doing the best she can to speed up the process for the 76th House District Democratic nomination.


Atherton met with Secretary of State Kris Kobach Tuesday afternoon as she formally requested a recount. Atherton delievered a brief statement to KVOE, which states "This is an attempt to move the needle for either Teresa or I and move one of us on to the general election prior to state canvas September 1."


The Secretary of State can't order a recount. He can only order a coin toss or some other method if a tie remains after the September 1 state canvasses.


According to her challenger, Teresa Briggs, Atherton and her campaign have to pay for the recount out of their own money. This is known as a bond.


 {wbty_audio audio_id="17267" audio_title="Briggs explains bonds in terms of recounting process"}


Atherton isn't the only one who thought up the idea of getting a recount done by the Secretary of State. Briggs admits that she would have eventually reached out to Atherton by Wednesday.


 {wbty_audio audio_id="17268" audio_title="Briggs: coin flip vs in the hands of the voters"}


Atherton didn't have time to do a formal interview because she had to return home to the Emporia area, but she told KVOE News that she met with Deputy Assistant for the Secretary of State Bryan Caskey.


Caskey looked over Atherton's request and accepted the proposal of the recount being done in the next five days, which includes weekends. Each recount will be overseen in each county by the county election officer.


Since the recounting process must occur within five days, including the weekends, Briggs and Atherton believes this will be finished by Friday so that people overlooking the votes won't have to work on the weekend.


Each county will then certify the recount and send to Kobach for the state canvas on September 1. It might be possible for Kobach to send an observer for the recounting process, but Atherton believes that is very unlikely to happen.


We'll keep you updated on the recounting process on KVOE, KVOE.com, and KVOE social media. 


If the recounting process still finds Atherton and Briggs to be tied at 397 apiece, the Office of Revisor of Statutes says the state board of canvassers shall determine by lot which person is nominated or elected if there is a tie after September 1. That decision could include a coin toss, which has happened before. Here's a link to more information on the Office of Revisor of Statutes.


KVOE News reporters Kyle Smith and Chuck Samples contributed to this report.


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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 09:29