The canvassing of official results from last week’s general election was rescheduled at Monday’s Ellis County Commission meeting, with a special session planned for 6 p.m. Thursday at the county administrative center, 718 Main.
Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus said the need to wait a few more days is due, in part, to an unusually high number of write-in votes, which take longer to count.
“I am so amazed. I’ve been in the county as an employee for several years in the clerk’s office, and I’ve never seen the amount of write-ins that we are seeing,” she said.
There were more than 1,600 write-in votes for the Hays USD 489 school board, with one candidate — Kevin Daniels — launching an official write-in campaign.
Write-in votes also were high for Ellis USD 388, where Dean Gottschalk also organized a write-in campaign. The number of write-ins for that election — 463 — actually was higher than the number of votes for any of the candidates on the ballot, according to unofficial results. It’s not yet clear, however, if all of those votes were for Gottschalk.
Maskus said an increased number of write-in votes occurred throughout the state, with other counties also still working to finalize their count. Part of the reason, she said, could be a change in state policy charging a $20 fee for all candidate filings.
“I had some that would not file. They said, ‘We’ll just have people write us in,’ ” Maskus said. “Which is allowable. But it just is a lot of paperwork.”
Also due to changes in Kansas procedure, candidate filings had to be submitted by June 1 — more than five months ahead of the election.
Ellis County also saw a voter turnout of at least 39 percent and several tight races in the aftermath of the Nov. 7 polling.
A race for the third Hays City Commission spot was too close to call in the unofficial results, with Chris Dinkel earning just 17 more votes than Dustin Roths.
There also were some close races in Victoria, where unofficial results showed incumbents on both the city council and school board voted out of office by 20 votes or less.
A number of provisional and mail-in ballots remain to be canvassed by the Ellis County Commission at Thursday’s special meeting, meaning candidates will be waiting a few more days for final results.
“I know everybody’s anxious, and it’s been an interesting election,” Maskus said.
For more from Monday's Ellis County Commission meeting, watch HDNews.net or see Wednesday's edition.