Final official election results are now in, and they show that Wyandotte County voters turned out in force for the general election Nov. 3.
Wyandotte County election results became official on Monday after the Board of Canvassers reviewed provisional ballots here. No election outcomes changed as a result, according to Election Commissioner Bruce Newby.
Turnout was about 62 percent of the total registered voters here and 69.5 percent of the active registered voters, Newby said.
“I think it’s doggone good,” he added.
The turnout this year approached the turnout in 2008, when 65 percent of the voters here cast a ballot when Barack Obama was elected, he said.
Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-37th Dist., ran a write-in campaign in the general election after losing in the primary to Democratic candidate Aaron Coleman. Rep. Frownfelter’s name was not on the general election ballot, and his campaign urged voters to “Write in Stan.”
Newby said since Rep. Frownfelter was the only Stan in the election, the Board of Canvassers decided to count all the votes with just “Stan,” “Frownfelter” or his entire name as a write-in – anything that was obvious it was for Frownfelter.
Rep. Frownfelter got 1,222 write-in votes, and Republican Kristina Smith, also a write-in candidate, received 620 write-in votes, he said.
It was not enough, though, as Coleman received 3,649 votes in the general election.
“I could not count ‘Anyone Else,’ ‘Snow White’ or ‘Snoop Dogg’” – all other names that had been written in, he said.
There were 186 miscellaneous, fictitious names, and even a profanity written in on the 37th District contest that did not count.
There were no requests for recounts on this election by 4 p.m. Tuesday, which was not surprising, as there were no close races, he said.
1,621 provisional votes counted
The total of registered voters includes some inactive voters, Newby said. The total number of registered voters here is 91,358, and 67,276 ballots were cast, for a 62.7 percent turnout, he said. There are 82,745 active registered voters, he said.
This election, there were 2,367 provisional votes total, and 1,621 were approved to count, he said. Those which were not counted totaled 746.
“Seventy percent of all provisional ballots did count,” he said. “The rumor that says provisional ballots do not count is a bald-faced lie.”
More than 500 people had to vote a provisional ballot because they went to the wrong polling place, he said.
They also had 967 ballots that were cast by voters who had received advanced ballots by mail and did not vote an advance ballot. Instead, they showed up for early voting and voted a ballot there, he said.
“Those were provisional, but they all counted,” he said. There is no penalty for deciding to go to the polling place and not sending in the advance mail ballot, he added.
There were 27 people, however, who did vote an advance mail ballot and also voted a provisional ballot in person, he said. Those provisional ballots were not counted.
While he did not look into the reasons why they might have tried to vote twice, he said he knew from past experience that the voter is often an elderly person who has forgotten that he voted earlier.
Voting twice is an election crime, and in the past they have referred cases to the district attorney’s office. When a provisional ballot is not counted, then the opinion of the district attorney is that the election office kept a person from committing a crime by having a provisional ballot that did not count, he said. Because of the provisional ballot, the individual did not vote twice.
Different kind of election year
It was a different kind of election this year, as the risk of COVID-19 resulted in many people voting by mail or in advance polling sites.
While some other areas have reported election workers who got COVID-19, there were no election workers in Wyandotte County who reported any illnesses to them, Newby said.
One election office employee thought she had been exposed to COVID-19, he added, but it was her spouse who was exposed at work, and her three tests all came back negative.
All the election workers had to wear masks, he said.
“One of the things I was real strict about was everybody wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer,” Newby said.
He let the election workers know that under the law, no one could be prevented from voting because they weren’t wearing a mask.
“I told them wearing or not wearing a mask was not an obstacle to voting, it is a constitutional right to vote, and that rules the day,” Newby said.
Voters were good about wearing masks, he said. He didn’t see any voters without a mask, and while there may have been an occasional voter without a mask, he didn’t hear about it.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, each in-person voter who voted a paper ballot received a free pen with a rubber-tipped stylus and a tip that could be used to sign the poll book, he said. Voters got to keep that pen. The voters who voted on a touch screen received a long disposable Q-Tip so no further contact was being made with the instrument used to vote.
They had cleaning supplies available at each polling place to immediately clean screens, so nothing was passed on to other voters, he said.
Newby said when they counted mail ballots, he required workers to wear masks and sit at least 6 feet away from others. At the vote canvassing, workers also distanced and wore masks all the time, he added.
“We did everything we could do to prevent somebody from catching COVID, working this election,” he said.