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Houser asks for recount in House District 1

By   /   November 8, 2010  /   No Comments

Cherokee County Commissioners on Friday canvassing ballots from November general election

COLUMBUS.  Cherokee County Commissioners met on Friday at the courthouse to canvass the ballots cast in the Nov. 2 general election.

A close Kansas House District 1 contest between incumbent Doug Gatewood and challenger Michael Houser had the most attention.

Houser narrowly won election day ballots 2468 to Gatewood’s 2394, but Gatewood had a 96-vote lead election night because of advance ballots.  Gatewood received 456 advance votes to Houser’s 286.

Gatewood’s lead narrowed on Friday after the official canvas to a 77 vote advantage:  2905 to 2828.

Cherokee County Commissioners Patrick Collins, Jack Garner and Richard Hilderband considered about 100 provisional ballots and occasionally sought advice from Kevin Cure, County Counselor, and the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, on whether to accept or reject a ballot.

On Sunday Cure sent the Commissioners a letter for their consideration in the event Houser asked for a recount on Monday.

As shown in the video below, Houser announced on Friday he planned to ask for a recount and did that formally on Monday morning.   A call to the Cherokee County Clerk’s office confirmed a recount had been requested, but other details were not yet available.

On Monday Clay Barker, General Counsel for the Kansas Republican Party, said Houser was told that he could not ask for a machine and a hand recount, and Houser had opted for a hand recount.

Houser must post a bond of approximately $4,100 to pay for the recount.  Payment information is not known at this time.

[Update Nov. 9, 2010 10 AM] On Tuesday Michael Houser provided KansasWatchdog with his letter requesting a recount.  Houser made several requests in that letter to remove ballots from the control of the Cherokee County Clerk, Crystal Gatewood, because of a conflict of interest.  Her husband, Doug Gatewood, is Houser’s opponent.  Houser said all of his requests for impartiality were denied.

[Update Nov. 9, 2010 2:15 PM] Becky from the Cherokee County Clerk’s office said the recount results were almost the same as the original count.

During the recount Doug Gatewood picked up two votes after human scrutiny of two machine-counted “over votes” (marks on a ballot for more than one candidate).

The final recount tally was Doug Gatewood 2907, Michael Houser 2828.

Kansas Watchdog analyzed the precinct results from the certified results from Friday and found no statistical issues in the data.  [Four charts compared precinct results with this table giving the key to the precinct numbers used in the charts.]

There had been some controversy in this contest when Cherokee Commission Chair Richard Hilderbrand relayed complaints he heard about ballot handling from about 10 constituents to the Cherokee County Sheriff.

The Sheriff’s office on Friday said they could not provide a copy of that complaint since it had been forwarded to the KBI.

Cherokee County Election Results


Contact: Earl F Glynn, [email protected], KansasWatchdog.org