Some advanced ballots not counted in time in Barton County

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GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — The Barton County Clerk’s Office says workers found 14 ballots inside a locked ballot box after the primary election was already finalized. She says those ballots would not have changed the outcome of any of the races.

County Clerk Donna Zimmerman says a voter gave the sealed advanced ballots to a precinct worker and, instead of putting the ballots in a labeled bag as instructed, the worker put the ballots in a locked ballot box.

If the ballots had been put in the bag, they would have gone to the clerk’s office on election night for immediate counting.

Locked ballot boxes don’t get unlocked until after the county has completed its canvassing of election results. Zimmerman says that is to make sure the ballots remain exactly as left on election night in case there is an investigation or recount.

Barton County finished its vote canvass and finalized the results on Monday, Aug. 10. Zimmerman says that allowed election officials to start their post-election security protocols.

During that review the workers found the 14 ballots.

“I felt it was necessary to disclose this very unfortunate situation,” Zimmerman said in a news release.

“Our office is taking appropriate action to determine how this mistake happened and will take additional steps to ensure it does not occur again.”

She says state law does not allow a canvassing board to meet again after adjourning to correct a subsequently discovered mistake of which it had no prior notice.

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