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This Week’s Canvass Unlikely To Make A Difference In Race For Wichita Mayor

LaRissa Lawrie
KMUW/File photo
The votes in this week's primary election will be officially counted next week.

Lyndon Wells and Brandon Whipple were in a tight race for second place in the Wichita mayoral primary last week.

In the end, Whipple edged Wells to advance to the general election in November against incumbent Jeff Longwell.  

While Whipple is claiming victory, Wells’ campaign said it is waiting for Thursday's canvass, when more than 500 provisional ballots will be counted and the election certified.

The likelihood of the votes changing the outcome in favor of Wells, however, is low, according to Wichita State University political science department chair Neal Allen.

“Unless there is some unknown error like a number of voting machines mistabulating candidate names, the chances of this margin flipping is near zero,” he said.

The Sedgwick County Election Office said there are still 519 provisional ballots to consider. It added 521 mail-in ballots to the total on Friday, extending Whipple's lead to 234 votes.

With nine candidates running for mayor, the provisional votes will be too spread out to make a significant difference, Allen said.

“Even if Wells gains over Whipple, it’ll probably be a small amount because lots of these votes will not be counted,” Allen said. “Some that are counted will be for Whipple, some will be for other candidates.”

If Whipple’s lead does shrink after the canvass, there is no state law that triggers an automatic recount for mayoral races. If a candidate wants a recount, he would have to pay for it.

“At this time, no one has requested we prepare a cost analysis of a recount,” Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said in an email.

The Board of County Commissioners will serve as the canvassing board. It will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday to certify and count primary votes.

Kylie Cameron is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.