Kobach's lead in Kansas race falls to 91 votes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary has shrunk to only 91 votes after election officials discovered a mistake in the listing for one county's results in the state's tally of votes.

The lead is minuscule when compared with the 311,000 votes cast.

The final, unofficial results posted on the secretary of state's website show Kobach winning Thomas County in northwest Kansas, with 466 votes to Colyer's 422. But the tally posted by the Thomas County clerk's office shows Colyer with 522 votes, or 100 votes more, a number the clerk confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Bryan Caskey, state elections director, said county officials pointed out the discrepancy Thursday following a routine request for a post-election check of the numbers to counties by the secretary of state's office.

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American politician Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as he speaks during a fundraiser for his gubernatorial campaign at an unidentified senior citizens center, Emporia, Kansas, October 28, 2017. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kris Kobach, Kansass secretary of state, arrives to the initial meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. President Donald Trump created the advisory commission in May, after claiming without evidence that 3 million people or more illegally voted for Hillary Clinton last year. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Kris Kobach, Kansass secretary of state, left, listens during the initial meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Trump created the advisory commission in May, after claiming without evidence that 3 million people or more illegally voted for Hillary Clinton last year. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: President-elect Donald Trump greets Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, at the clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster Township, N.J. on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach attends an election night party (for Ron Estes' Congressional special election victory), Wichita, Kansas, April 11, 2017. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (left) shakes hands with the state's Attorney General Derek Schmidt at an election night party (for Ron Estes' Congressional special election victory), Wichita, Kansas, April 11, 2017. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in a March 2016 file image in Wichita, Kan. A federal judge on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, found Kobach in contempt of court in a case involving Kansas voting laws, her latest rebuke of the Republican candidate for governor. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
TOPEKA, KS - FEBRUARY, 17: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach discusses the Kansas proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration in his office in Topeka, Ks. Wednesday February 17, 2015. (Photo by Christopher Smith/ For the Washington Post)
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County election officials have yet to finish counting late-arriving mail-in ballots or provisional ballots provided to voters at the polls when their eligibility wasn't clear.

"This is a routine part of the process," Caskey said. "This is why we emphasize that election-night results are unofficial."

Thomas County Clerk Shelly Harms said it's possible that her handwriting on the tally sheet faxed to the secretary of state's office was bad enough in the rush of primary-night business that the number for Colyer wasn't clear.

"They just misread it," she told The Associated Press.

Colyer's campaign said Thursday that it had set up a "voting integrity" telephone hotline after it had received "countless" reports of voters experiencing issues at the polls.

Kobach is the state's chief elections officers and told reporters Wednesday that he knew of no reports of irregularities outside of a long delay in the reporting of results from Johnson County, the state's most populous county, because of issues with its new machines.

"We'll certainly be going through the results county by county," Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr said.

Kobach is perhaps President Donald Trump's closest political ally in the state, and he's a vocal advocate of tough policies on immigration and strict voter identification laws who served as vice chairman of Trump's now disbanded commission on election fraud. The president tweeted his endorsement of Kobach on Monday, less than 24 hours before the polls opened.

Kansas Democrats hope the drawn-out battle and dissension within the Republican party could give them an opening to win the governor's race in November in a red state.

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