Get information on the issues, candidates and results of the 2011 elections.
View an interactive map of the results for the Lawrence City Commission election held April 5, 2011.
The votes are final — and in some cases — darn close, too.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew on Monday released official totals from last week’s city/school board elections after county commissioners “canvassed” the ballots, which is a process that involves ruling on whether provisional ballots cast at the polls should be counted.
In Baldwin City, every vote ended up being precious. In the race for Baldwin City school board position No. 2, Sandy Chapman ended up defeating Ed Kite by one vote: 437 to 436. In the race for the Baldwin City Council, Shane Starkey won by two votes over Kenneth Hayes: 243 to 241.
“It just goes to show that there are definitely situations where one or two people can make the difference in an election,” Shew said.
In Lawrence, the race for the top spot in the City Commission race got a little closer. On election night, Bob Schumm held a 16-vote lead over Mike Dever for the top spot. After provisional ballots were counted and the votes finalized, Schumm’s lead had shrunk to six. The stakes weren’t particularly high. Both men were assured of a four-year term on the commission. The results, though, do mean that Schumm likely will get a chance to serve as mayor in 2012 and Dever will have to wait until 2013. By tradition, the City Commission usually chooses the top vote-winner of the election to serve as mayor in the first year following the election. The second-place winner usually is selected to serve as mayor in the second year following the election.
The canvassing process also helped determine a winner in the race for the Lecompton City Council, where no one filed for one of the open seats on the board. That position was determined solely by write-in votes. Shew said Elsie Middleton won the spot with 47 write-in votes, which was more than twice the number of any other write-in candidate.
Shew’s office counts all write-in votes, and this year one name was easy to recognize. Former Kansas University basketball player Brady Morningstar received 50 write-in votes for the Lawrence City Commission. An informal online campaign sprung up for Morningstar in the days prior to the election. A handful of online commenters on LJWorld.com had posted messages urging people to write Morningstar in for the commission. His 50 votes left him just 3,897 votes behind Hugh Carter, who won the third and final spot on the Lawrence City Commission.
Shew said his office reviewed 113 provisional ballots that were cast during the election. Provisional ballots are cast when a voter shows up at the polls, but poll workers don’t have a record of the person being registered to vote. The provisional ballots aren’t counted on election night, but rather are researched by Shew and his staff to determine whether the person is a registered voter.
In this election, 99 of the 113 ballots were counted. Shew said the main reason for provisional ballots was that people simply went to the wrong polling place, usually because they have moved within the county and didn’t change their voter registration information.
The main reason ballots are rejected is because a person isn’t registered at all, is registered in a different county or, as was the case with two ballots this election, the voter is dead.
Shew said this year that two people cast advanced ballots, but then died before Election Day. State law says those votes can’t be counted.
“The way the law reads,” Shew said, “you have to be alive on Election Day.”