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Kansas conservatives lose — again — after abortion rights recount

Kansas Republicans' push for a recount on the state's Aug. 2 abortion referendum was a sad and dangerous development.


Kansas conservatives were just taught a valuable lesson: No means no.

On Sunday, officials concluded the partial recount of a landslide, statewide vote rejecting a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the legislature to ban abortion completely. And the recount predictably affirmed the results: Kansans resoundingly declined the amendment. 

Nearly 60% of voters opposed the so-called Value Them Both amendment during a referendum on Aug. 2, but conspiracy theorists supportive of former President Donald Trump’s lies about fraudulence in U.S. elections successfully demanded a recount. 

According to The Kansas City Star, the recount “was requested last Friday by Melissa Leavitt, a Colby resident who has testified to the Kansas Legislature about 2020 election conspiracy theories.”

The Star does a great job of laying out just how pitiful and desperate Leavitt and fellow anti-abortion activist Mark Gietzen were to sow doubt over an undoubtable result. Apparently, the two weren’t able to come up with the funds for a statewide hand recount, which meant only nine of the state's 105 counties were examined. And they even paid for part of the audit with a credit card. 

From the Star: 

Leavitt ultimately raised more than $50,000 online for the abortion recount, but her main benefactor was Mark Gietzen, a longtime anti-abortion activist from Wichita. Gietzen also leads the Kansas Republican Assembly, a hard-right alternative to the traditional Republican Party. Leavitt originally requested a statewide recount, which Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s Office estimated would have cost about $230,000. Leavitt and Gietzen on Monday managed to put forward just under $120,000, with Gietzen using a credit card for the Kansas Republican Assembly and money from his own retirement account.

You read that correctly. Conservatives are drawing down their retirement and running up credit card payments to finance their fascist fantasies.

The partial recount made almost no difference to the results of the referendum: There were eight additional "yes" votes and 49 fewer "no" votes, a negligible amount compared to the more than 922,000 Kansas who voted.

But this ordeal is yet more evidence of the GOP’s Trump-inspired, anti-democratic approach to elections. When they don’t win races and votes they think they should — no matter how lopsided the result — they’ll stop at nothing to discredit the process.