The state’s primary election is officially in the books, with the state Board of Canvassers officially certifying the results at a meeting Friday.


Despite uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary of State Scott Schwab proclaimed the primary a success, with most races called early and few issues despite a historic surge of mail ballots.


The state saw 261,180 mail ballots returned to local election officials, roughly 83% of the 315,095 requested.


While the state’s no-excuse absentee voting policy has been in use since 1996, the pandemic led to more than eight times as many voters casting their ballot by mail as in 2018.


Schwab said local election officials coped with that deluge well.


"I appreciate that those folks processed an increased number of mail-in ballots and still be able to give results very well," he said. "We got a good election system in the state of Kansas, whether that is mail ballots or in-person ballot."


Overall 632,032 votes were cast in the primary election, a roughly 34% turnout rate. That was more or less the same in Shawnee County, where 34.9% of registered voters cast their ballots.


Kelly: ’I’m glad’ county issued KU quarantine orders


Douglas County was right in ordering 10 fraternities and sororities to quarantine at the University of Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly, one of the three board members, told reporters after the hearing.


The orders, issued Wednesday, came after a weekend where many Greek houses held parties across campus. The positive test rate for fraternities and sororities campuswide is five times that of the general student population, the university has said.


"I’m glad" that the university took action, the governor said.


"We have to make sure we have protocols in place and accountability in place," Kelly said. "We can’t let this continue to happen."


The students would eventually be returning to their home communities — taking the virus with them, she said.


"We just can’t have them become superspreaders," she said.


The governor said she has not made a determination as to what a renewal of her emergency declaration, set to expire Sept. 15, might look like.


Under a compromise bill passed by the Legislature in June and signed by the governor, any further renewal of the emergency order would need approval by the State Finance Council.


Also under that bill, Kelly would be able to impose business closure orders starting on Sept. 15 for up to 15 days. At that point, the SFC would also need to sign off on any further mandate.


But Kelly said Friday that she was seeking to avoid taking that step if at all possible.


"I am all about being able to keep our economy thriving and our schools open," she said. "That is why I keep hounding the idea that please wear your masks, please stay away from people and please stay away from mass gatherings. Because it is the only way we are going to keep businesses open and keep our schools open."