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Kansas recount reaffirms landslide win for abortion rights

A Kansas recount has confirmed a landslide victory for abortion rights during the state's primary election Aug. 2 with the recount changing the outcome by fewer than 100 votes. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1f38096c2677f3ff838a5db5eceb5668/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A Kansas recount has confirmed a landslide victory for abortion rights during the state's primary election Aug. 2 with the recount changing the outcome by fewer than 100 votes. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A Kansas recount has confirmed a landslide vote earlier this month to uphold abortion rights in the state.

The hand recount in nine counties cost close to $120,000 and changed the outcome by fewer than 100 votes. Voters on Aug. 2 overwhelmingly rejected an amendment, called Value Them Both, to the state constitution that would have stripped abortion rights.

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The recount was requested last Friday by resident Melissa Leavitt who has testified to the Kansas Legislature about 2020 election conspiracy theories. Leavitt raised more than $50,000 online for the abortion recount with the help of Mark Gietzen, an anti-abortion activist from Wichita.

"In this age of voter fraud hysteria it appears that no amount of evidence is enough to convince some people," said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

RELATED Trump allies rack up primary wins while voters shield abortion rights in Kansas

The partial recount covered nine counties and included Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee, the state's three largest counties. Of the nine counties recounted, only one, Thomas County, voted for the amendment.

"My heart goes out to our clerks," Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said. "They just got done certifying the election. They're dealing with the recount that was kind of wavering back and forth... And a lot of these counties have only a staff of two."

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Jefferson County Clerk Linda Buttron said she did not mind conducting the recount and was happy the outcome nearly matched what was reported election night.

RELATED Kansas voters reject amendment to restrict abortion rights

"I hope that it increases voter confidence," Buttron said. "We do our best in the clerk's office to make sure that everything is done accurately and efficiently and I hope that puts some more trust in our mind."

Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in June. The state's Aug. 2 primary election produced a large turnout, with 48% of registered voters casting a ballot, and more than 61% of those voters voting in favor of protecting abortion rights.

The request for a recount of the lopsided win forced some anti-abortion groups, like Kansans for Life, to distance themselves from the effort.

RELATED Kansas Supreme Court rules to protect abortion rights

"While Kansans have the right to request recounts, we knew it wasn't going to change the results," Mackenzie Haddix, a spokeswoman for Kansans for Life, said in a statement.

"You're discrediting one of the central tenets of our democracy, which is fair and free elections," Sen. Tom Hawk, a Manhattan Democrat, said of the recount. "I just think that's a bad precedent to set, whatever your cause is."

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