House candidate Briggs wins Democrat primary by 1 vote

A discrepancy in the election night tally discovered during a recount yesterday has resulted in Teresa Briggs winning the Democrat race for candidacy for Kansas House District 76 by one vote.

According to election night tallies, Kelly Atherton was ahead of Briggs in the race by six votes, 395-389, with provisional votes expected to decide the race during canvassing in Osage, Lyon and Coffey counties. Following canvassing, the race was declared a tie, with Briggs gaining eight votes and Atherton gaining two.

Following the tie vote, Atherton’s campaign requested a recount, which was done in Osage County on Wednesday afternoon, in Coffey County Thursday morning, and in Lyon County Thursday afternoon.

While Osage County’s and Coffey County’s original tallies were confirmed during the recount, Lyon County’s recount added one vote for Briggs, with the total for the district standing at 398 to 397, making Briggs the unofficial winner.

Other media has reported the discrepancy was the result of an overseas ballot that election workers had failed to count until the recount. Friday morning, Lyon County Clerk Tammy Vopat would not confirm an overlooked overseas ballot was the reason for the vote change, saying only that human error caused the discrepancy.

“It was a possibility yes that was the ballot that caused the change, but it was human error whether the ballot got counted,” Vopat said.

In an interview with other media, Atherton said she wasn’t expecting any changes to the Lyon County tally during the recount, “so it was surprising when we were off and somehow there was an extra ballot appearing.”

“That was concerning, trying to figure out what and where that came from,” Atherton said. “But eventually learning that the county clerk had forgotten to include the overseas military ballot on election night in the tally – that explains where the extra vote came from.”

Thursday, Briggs said she was happy and surprised about the recount results.

“I’m still excited, and I’m glad it didn’t have to go to coin toss,” Briggs said. “I’m still letting it sink in. I still can’t quite believe it yet.”

The primary election results will not be official until certified by the state board of canvassers on Sept. 1.

In Osage County, three election workers conducted the recount Wednesday afternoon, according to Osage County Clerk Rhonda Beets.

“The numbers were the same,” Beets said, with the county’s tally remaining at 68 votes for Atherton and 151 votes for Briggs.

Beets said the cost for Osage County’s recount totaled $54.50, and that figure will be forwarded to the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office, which had requested the counties to conduct the recount. Atherton’s campaign had made a request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office and will be responsible for cost.

Briggs will face Republican Eric Smith in the Nov. 8, 2016, general election. The 76th House district includes all of Coffey County and portions of Osage and Lyon counties.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas