Kansas leaders praise for election losers for accepting results as other states struggle
The Kansas State Board of Canvassers on Thursday certified the results of the Nov. 8 general election, completing a routine part of democracy without the political controversy seen in other states.
The panel was comprised of Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Gov. Laura Kelly and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
It took less than four minutes from the start of the meeting for the panel to certify the election results. Comparatively, it took more than four chaotic hours for Michigan to certify its results. There, several candidates who lost their races urged the election panel not to certify the results.
In Arizona, the secretary of state is taking Cochise County to court after two Republican supervisors deliberately missed the deadline to certify election results. The secretary of state has warned that if Cochise County does not certify its election results in time for Monday's statewide canvass, the county's votes will not be counted.
In Pennsylvania, a handful of counties failed to meet the deadline for certification due to pending legal efforts to seek recounts.
More:Michigan elections panel rebuffs calls from losing candidates not to certify election
Schwab, a Republican, won reelection last month. So did Kelly, a Democrat, who overcame a challenge from Schmidt, a Republican.
"You're sure you didn't transpose the numbers in the governor's race, right?" Schmidt jokingly asked Bryan Caskey, the election director for the Secretary of State's Office.
"I double-checked that," Caskey replied.
"Alright, just making sure," Schmidt said with a chuckle, before making the motion to certify the election.
Schwab praised Kelly and Schmidt for accepting the results of the election.
"This is the way for everyone in America to accept election results," he said.
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Fewer death threats to election workers after contentious primary recount
Caskey said just over 1 million people cast a ballot in the election, putting voter turnout at about 51.1% of registered voters.
"This is the second highest number of votes cast in a gubernatorial general election in the history of the state," Caskey said.
The record is 2018, which had about 200,000 more ballots cast and turnout of about 56%.
Caskey praised local election officials and staff, crediting them with running a "successful election."
No candidate or group requested a recount in any race in the general election. That comes after a high-profile recount of the so-called Value Them Both Amendment following the Aug. 2 primary. The recount changed a handful of votes but had no effect on the landslide vote.
This fall, some election deniers, apparently inspired in-part by former President Donald Trump's lies about election fraud, tried unsuccessfully to challenge in federal court the results of the 2020 general election and the 2022 primary election.
More:Judge denies longshot effort to stop use of Kansas ballot drop boxes, voting machines
"I think that election went very smoothly, and the recounts proved it," Schwab said of August. "The chaos was in the rhetoric and people demanding recounts, but the result of the process showed that we didn't have chaos, but rather quite good quality of work."
Schwab said election workers this time around did "great work despite a horrible environment."
"Clerks shouldn't be getting death threats, and I don't appreciate the rhetoric," he said.
Schwab said there were rumors of death threats to local election officials leading up to the canvass, but it was left to local officials to refer threats to law enforcement.
"It's just folks that believe things they read on the internet, and then they try to use threats to force their will on a county that they don't live in," Schwab said.
The general election cycle was comparatively tamer for state officials, which Schwab credited to the primary recount.
"In a lot of ways, it was," Schwab said when asked if the general election was quieter for threats. "Our phones were not ringing this general cycle like it was during the primary. I think that hand recount really had a lot of folks saying, 'you know, maybe there is this thing called election integrity and Kansas gets it right.'"
Some people will never trust elections, Schwab said, comparing them to people who believe the Earth is flat.
"But the people that are looking at it with a critical-thinking brain are realizing, wow, the evidence is overwhelming we got it right," he said. "I think the evidence is here today too that even Derek's willing to certify the results on his own election."
What comes next for Derek Schmidt?
"As I've said many times, I have confidence in our Kansas system," Schmidt said. "It's not perfect, but it is a system that has undergone continual improvement. I hope it will continue to do so. I think at the end of the day, elections must end and this one officially ended today."
Schmidt told reporters that he does not know what comes next for him, other than, "I gotta go pack some boxes."
"This is the first time in 22 years that I've had a completely open playing field in front of me," Schmidt said, adding that he has given thought to what comes next, but is unsure if he will remain in politics.
He said he has been in contact with Attorney General-elect Kris Kobach, introducing him to senior staff.
"We're working diligently to hand the office off in better shape than we found it," Schmidt said.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas certifies election results amid Arizona, Michigan controversy