GIRARD — The official results of a hand recount for the District 3 Crawford County Commission race show Democrat Jeremy Johnson defeating Republican Chad Ulepich by a margin of 25 votes.
It was a much different scene on Friday when the Crawford County Board of Canvassers met to carry out their duties on the results of Thursday’s hand recount of the District 3 Crawford County Commission and District 2 Kansas State Representative races. The room that was packed to capacity for Tuesday’s canvass was practically empty and neither candidate was present.
“It was a lengthy process,” County Clerk Don Pyle said. “Counting by hand is not an exact science. We had to recount some precincts five or six times to settle on a number.”
These numbers settled the mercurial results of the District 3 Crawford County Commission race. After the hand recount and second canvass, the results found Johnson defeated Ulepich 1,648 to 1,623, a difference of 25 votes. The total recounted ballots were noticeably lower than those from the first canvass, which put Johnson up 1,652 votes to 1,630.
Vic Miller, an election lawyer hired by the commission to oversee the first canvass and subsequent recount, said he was perplexed by the drop in votes.
“That’s the one thing I can’t explain,” he said, “why both of them lost a handful of ballots. Without in depth research, I cannot explain it. The good news is that the margin was similar in both instances.”
Though Johnson and Ulepich lost four and seven votes respectively, Miller, along with the commission, said he was comfortable that the results of the recount were accurate.
Also affected were the numbers from the race for District 2 Kansas State Representative. District 2 includes portions of Crawford, Allen, Bourbon and Neosho counties. The numbers did show slight movement but affirmed that Republican Kenneth Collins defeated Adam Lusker Sr. for the seat. Though he was defeated in the race as a whole, the numbers also affirmed that Lusker defeated Collins in Crawford County.
The official results of the hand recount found Lusker lost overall to Collins district-wide, 4,197 to Collins’s 4,317, a difference of 120 votes, but won in Crawford County, 3,240 votes to 2,494. The results of the first canvass had Lusker defeating Collins in the county 3,237 to 2,494 and falling to Collins district-wide, 4,194 votes to 4,319.
The results of the hand recount were canvassed by a board of 17 people made up of nine Republicans and eight Democrats (Pyle said one Democrat was a no-show). Results from each polling place were counted by groups of four and each person had to agree on the final number.