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Archive for Thursday, August 22, 2002

Aug. 6 ballot problems alleged

Clay, Barton county candidates seek review of races

August 22, 2002

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The discovery of a computer glitch reversed one outcome from this month's primary elections in Kansas, and an unsuccessful candidate in another race has based his request for a special election on technical difficulties that allegedly occurred in his race.

In Clay County, computer results from a county commission primary had challenger Roy Jennings defeating incumbent Jerry Mayo by 22 votes.

The hand recount, completed Tuesday, revealed Mayo as the winner and by a landslide, 540 votes to 175.

In one ward, which Mayo carried 242-78, the computer had mistakenly reversed the totals. And in the absentee voting, which originally showed a 47-44 edge for Jennings, a hand count found Mayo winning 72-19.

"I'm sorry everyone had to go through that, but glad to see the will of the voters carried through," Mayo said.

Jennings, whose attorneys walked out of Tuesday's election panel hearing, said he had reservations about the recount.

"The ballots and counting machine and program chip were open to anyone with access to the (county) clerk's office, mostly active opponents to my campaign," Jennings said.

And in Great Bend, a fossil hunter who sought a seat in the state Legislature is seeking a special election, alleging problems with a machine that scans ballots opened the door for possible tampering.

Alan Detrich lost his GOP primary bid for the 112th District seat to the incumbent, Rep. John Edmonds of Great Bend, by a margin of 2 to 1.

Detrich, also of Great Bend, wrote to Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall and Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh on Monday with concerns about how ballots were handled on election night.

"I have no evidence that any ballots were tampered with, but the fact that the ballot boxes were outside Barton County for approximately five hours in two separate vehicles with unknown occupants raises serious questions," Detrich wrote.

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