Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced Wednesday that he would not recuse himself from overseeing a possible recount in the primary for his own gubernatorial election, in which initial results showed that he defeated incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer by fewer than 200 votes. “The recount thing is done on a county level, so the secretary of state does not actually participate directly in the recount,” Kobach said, according to The Kansas City Star. “The secretary of state’s office merely serves as a coordinating entity overseeing it all, but not actually counting the votes.” Although the Star notes that Kobach is not legally obligated to recuse himself, the newspaper cites a series of experts who contend that his recusal would be necessary to ensure public trust in the results.
Kobach also attempted Wednesday to dissuade Colyer from asking for a recount, which Republican officials say is almost certain. “If the margin is less than 10 votes or something extraordinarily close, I would expect any person to call for a recount,” Kobach said. “A recount would take a significant amount of time to do a recount statewide. It also depends on what kind.” The Star adds that if the margin is greater than .5 percentage points, Colyer would have to pay Kobach’s office a bond—and Kobach would control the price. “I would have to believe that in a situation like this, the secretary would be well advised to remove any appearance of impropriety,” a lawyer knowledgeable with election law told the Star.