“No law prevents Kris Kobach from overseeing the likely recount in his own race”

KC Star:

No law requires Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to recuse himself from a recount in the governor’s race, but legal and political experts say that he should to maintain trust in the election.

Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday morning that a recount is almost certain and could possibly take weeks.

Kobach, the state’s top election official, narrowly led Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary by a mere 191 votes Wednesday morning after each of the state’s 105 counties had posted election returns after technical difficulties in Johnson County delayed results on election night.

Kobach’s office did not immediately comment on whether the secretary intended to hand over administration of the recount to a deputy.

He has recused himself from deciding election disputes in the past because of a conflict of interest, including in 2014 when he abstained from a residency objection hearing against U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts because he served on the senator’s campaign committee….

Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, said in an email that “it would be good practice even if not required by state law for an election official to recuse from any recount or legal proceedings surrounding his or her own election efforts. A longstanding English and American tradition is that ‘no man should be a judge of his own case.’ That should apply here.”

Hasen added that the issue “only arises because we have partisan election officials running our elections. In most other advanced democracies, there are nonpartisan professionals.”


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