TOPEKA (TNS) — Republican Kris Kobach faces an objection to his candidacy for governor from a liberal activist over vote counting in the primary election.
Davis Hammet says in his objection that legal votes were rejected during the August election, when Kobach, the secretary of state, defeated Gov. Jeff Colyer by 343 votes out of 317,000 cast. Hammet contends advance mail ballots were rejected based on signature matching but the voters were not given the opportunity to dispute the decisions.
Ballots by unaffiliated voters were also rejected in violation of Kansas law, he writes. And, he writes, unaffiliated voters who showed a clear intent to vote in the primary election had their ballots rejected by poll workers.
"Numerous state statute violations, inconsistent application of the law, and unconstitutional treatment of rejected ballots resulted in a number of ballots not being counted that is significantly higher than Mr. Kobach's 0.1% margin of victory," Hammet writes in his objection.
He requests that the state of Kansas unseal and count all the ballots he says were illegally rejected.
Hammet is the director of Loud Light, a Kansas-based civic engagement organization.
In response to the objection, Kobach spokeswoman Danedri Herbert said: "Kris Kobach is focused on providing a quality education for Kansas students and bringing back jobs for hard-working Kansans."
Davis's arguments echo statements made by Colyer supporters after polls closed. Ultimately, Colyer conceded and endorsed Kobach.
An all-Republican three-member board will meet to consider the objection. Kobach serves on the board, but earlier recused himself and has previously sent deputy Eric Rucker in his place.
Independent Greg Orman also faced a challenge to his candidacy. Democratic attorney Will Lawrence raised concerns about Orman's signature collectors during an August hearing. Lawrence's complaint was largely dismissed.