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Anti-Abortion Activists Fork Over $119k To See Kansas Voters Uphold Abortion Rights Twice

Talking Points Memo logo Talking Points Memo 8/16/2022 Cristina Cabrera
US-VOTE-POLITICS-ABORTION-KANSAS © AFP via Getty Images US-VOTE-POLITICS-ABORTION-KANSAS

Dismayed by Kansas voters’ overwhelming rejection of an amendment that would’ve stripped away abortion rights from the state’s constitution, several anti-abortion activists sought a statewide hand recount – but failed to raise enough cash for the $229,000 required to pay for it in all 105 counties on Monday.

So they’re settling for nine.

Melissa Leavitt, the activist who attempted to launch the first recount, and Kansas Coalition for Life chairman Mark Gietzen, an anti-abortion ally who tried to help her raise the money for it, shelled out $119,000 on Monday for recounts in just Sedgwick, Johnson, Shawnee, Douglas, Crawford, Harvey, Jefferson, Lyon and Thomas counties.

All but one of them – Thomas County – rejected the amendment in the state’s primaries earlier this month.

The Kansas secretary of state’s office said on Monday that the deadline for the recount is Saturday.

One of Gietzen’s credit cards was used to pay a whopping $118,000 for the new recount gambit, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Even if Leavitt and Gietzen (who went as far as offering his house as collateral to meet the $229,000 fee, an offer the Kansas secretary of state’s office rejected) had managed to get the statewide recount they initially wanted, it wouldn’t have done much to change the outcome of the vote: Opponents of the amendment won a jaw-dropping 165,000 more votes than its supporters.

But Leavitt has hinted that the stunt is less about overturning the results of the vote and more about pushing conservatives’ baseless narrative about voter fraud.

“We are just praying for exposure of anything that might have been nefarious and just some answers to put the voters of Kansas at peace,” Leavitt said, per the Kansas Reflector.

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