Kan. AG urges election officials to preserve primary-election records

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) The Latest on the unsettled Republican primary race between Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach (all times local):

Friday night, Aug. 10:

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is instructing county officials in the state to preserve all records related to the primary election.

Schmidt sent a litigation hold letter to county election officials and county legal counsel saying litigation related to the gubernatorial primary election seems likely and that all records could be relevant to potential litigation. Schmidt says that no one should destroy any paper files, notes or electronic data related to the primary election.


2:40 p.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he's stepping aside from his duties as the state's top elections official while his hotly contested Republican primary race with Gov. Jeff Colyer remains unresolved.

Kobach announced his decision Friday in a letter to Colyer. Colyer had demanded Thursday that Kobach stop advising county election officials on the handling of uncounted ballots in Tuesday's governor's race and let the attorney general do it.

The secretary of state said he is handing his election duties over to Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker. He said Rucker also will serve in his place on the state board that certifies the final primary election results.


2:30 p.m.

Kansas counties are reporting updated vote totals in the contested Republican primary between Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach that reflect late mail-in ballots.

The secretary of state's office was updating results Friday as it received them from individual counties.

With the first 25 counties reporting, Kobach's lead almost doubled to 241 votes from 121. That's still a tiny margin with more than 311,000 ballots cast.

Kansas law says mail-in ballots are counted if they are postmarked Tuesday and arrive by Friday.

Colyer accused Kobach of advising county election officials to not count some late-arriving mail-in ballots that should be counted. Kobach's office was planning a formal response later Friday.


1:20 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's re-election campaign plans to have a representative in all 105 counties next week as local election officials review mail-in and provisional ballots to arrive at final official vote totals.

Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach are locked in a tight race for the GOP nomination for governor. The primary was Tuesday. Kobach led by 121 votes out of more than 311,000 cast as of Thursday.

The counting in their race is not complete because state law says mail-in ballots that are postmarked Tuesday can be accepted by the counties as late as Friday. County officials also must review perhaps several thousand provisional ballots, given to voters at the polls when their eligibility is in question.

Colyer's spokesman said the governor believes Kobach's office is advising county clerks to discard mail-in ballots that by law should be counted, and the campaign representatives will be at canvass meetings to be sure that they are.


10:35 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says he's "not entirely" comfortable with the vote-counting process in his still-unsettled Republican primary race with Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Colyer said Friday on Fox News that he wants to make sure every legitimate vote is counted. Kobach led by 121 votes out of more than 311,000, with perhaps several thousand votes uncounted.

Kobach promised Thursday night that he would remove himself from further counting but said the move would be "symbolic" because counties do the actual work.

He did so after Colyer demanded in a letter that he stop advising county election officials. Colyer told Fox News that he believes Kobach has advised them not to count some ballots that should be counted.

Kobach's office has not responded to those allegations.


9:25 a.m.

An aide to Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says Secretary of State Kris Kobach's promise to remove himself from further counting in their contested Republican primary race is not enough.

Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr on Friday reiterated the governor's demand that Kobach stop advising county election officials on handling perhaps several thousand as-yet uncounted ballots in the governor's race.

Kobach led by 121 votes out of more than 311,000 cast after discrepancies were found Thursday between two counties' totals and those reported on the secretary of state's website.

The secretary of state advises counties, which handle actual counting. Kobach noted that Thursday night on CNN but said he would stay out of further counting because of Colyer's demand in a letter Thursday.

But Marr says Colyer wants Kobach to step aside from "his actual" advising role.

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