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Spin Control

Posts tagged: recount

Results don’t change in futile Ahern recount

A recount that couldn’t change the winner also didn’t change the vote totals.

Last week, Spokane City Council candidate John Ahern paid to have a partial recount in his race against incumbent Jon Snyder.

Ahern, a former state representative, lost the race by 5,669 votes in a margin that was nearly 2-to-1 in favor of Snyder.

The recount was completed today. Officials said the four precincts that he requested to be recounted by hand, which included about 1,600 ballots, were counted accurately the first time by machine.

If the machine count had been wrong, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said last week that changes could not have changed the winner because Ahern had not request enough votes to be recounted to make up the difference.

Ahern: Race against Snyder not over yet

Former state Rep. John Ahern, who lost his race against incumbent Councilman Jon Snyder by a nearly 2-to-1 margin is questioning how he could have performed so poorly.

Ahern is requesting a partial recount in the race just to “double-check” the accuracy of the ballot counting.

“I doorbelled a little over 10,000 homes,” Ahern said. “I got a very good reception from just about everybody.”

Intriguing possibilities for Spokane House race

After an intense three-month campaign, the race for a state House seat representing central Spokane only revealed the first- and last-place finishers.

The three candidates in between will have to wait at least through the end of the week  – and perhaps through a round of recounting – to determine who will face top vote-getter Democrat Marcus Riccelli in November.

Two of the three possible challengers to Riccelli also are Democrats and offer intriguing general election matchups.

Former Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple, a Democrat and former Republican, appeals to some Republicans and even won the endorsement of the Spokane Home Builders Association during the primary. With a solid base of support in northeast Spokane, he could offer a formidable challenge to Riccelli – though he would have to massively step up his efforts to match Riccelli’s financial support and professional organization.

Current Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder holds nearly identical views on the issues as Riccelli and is popular with the Democratic Party, but faltered as the party’s establishment fell in line behind Riccelli, who was Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s choice. Republicans would struggle to choose between the two, and Snyder would have to successfully woo them to win.

Day care center co-owner Tim Benn, as a Republican and first-time candidate likely would have significant difficulty in a race against Riccelli, as shown in two-person races between Democrats and Republicans in the district, including Tuesday’s primary for state Senate between Democrat Andy Billig and Republican Nancy McLaughlin. Billig has a nearly 20 percentage point lead over McLaughlin, who has won big in her nonpartisan races for Spokane City Council.

Allen wins second count, but a third awaits

Former Councilman Mike Allen's lead over incumbent Richard Rush grew by three to 91 on Wednesday after a recount of the Spokane City Council election for the city's south district.

The race was recounted by machine because the result from the first count was within half of 1 percentage point. Rush said he still plans to pursue a hand recount, which the Spokane County Democratic Party has agreed to finance.

Results of a hand recount in the 4th Legislative District senate race, which also was completed Wednesday and was paid for by candidate Jeff Baxter, may not give Rush much hope for much change.

Baxter paid more than $1,700 to have 10 precincts recounted in his race against state Sen. Mike Padden. Election workers who tallied the ballots Wednesday morning found two errors. Baxter lost a vote, and one vote that had been counted as blank was changed to a write-in, for the candidate “N/A.”

In the Rush-Allen race, Rush's tally was found to be too high by two and Allen gained a vote after a ballot that had been counted as blank was found to have been marked for Allen.

Election Manager Mike McLaughlin said he can't say for sure why Rush's count fell by two. One possibility is that after paper jams occurred in the machines, ballots that already had been counted may have been sent through a second time, he said.

Each campaign involved in the two recounts had observers at the Elections Office.

Baxter lost to Padden by 3,638 votes. He said he paid for the recount with his personal money and did so because results in some precincts conflicted with data campaign workers collected when going door-to-door. The outcome hints that in a future race volunteers need to do a better job reaching voters when they're home, he said.

“I didn't think anything insidious was going on,” Baxter said. “I'm just saying that we need to work a little harder in different precincts.”

Baxter said he hasn't decided if he will run again next year.

Last week, Rush indicated that Baxter may have paid for a recount to prevent Rush's race from being recounted by hand. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton originally requested that the City Council race be counted by hand to test new scanners in the county's voting machines. But she changed course after Baxter opted to pay for a recount in his race.

“It had absolutely nothing to do with his race,” Baxter said. “I don't have the time to be playing those games.”

Recounts start Tuesday

Spokane County election officials expect to start and complete on Tuesday the first two of the three recounts they need to complete to finish work from the November election.

Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said the office plans to count the ballots from the Spokane City Council race between Richard Rush and Mike Allen and the 4th Legislative District senate race between Mike Padden and Jeff Baxter starting around 9 a.m.

The Rush-Allen recount will be completed by computer and is required because the race ended with the two candidates within a half percentage point. The senate recount will be completed manually because it was paid for by Baxter.

After this set of results is complete and the Canvassing Board meets on Wednesday, the Allen-Rush hand recount, which is being financed by the Spokane County Democratic Party, can begin.

Rush trails Allen by 88 votes.

Baxter trails Padden by 3,437 votes.

Baxter pays for recount

Former state Sen. Jeff Baxter is paying for a partial recount of ballots in his unsuccessful bid to retain his Spokane Valley seat despite losing the race by more than 3,400 votes.

Baxter’s opponent in the contest, Mike Padden, was sworn in as senator representing the 4th Legislative District on Tuesday soon after the Spokane County Canvassing Board certified the results.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Baxter submitted a check for $1,174 to recount 10 precincts. She said he was required to make a down payment of 25 cents per ballot. He will get a refund if the cost of the recount is less.

Baxter, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, lost it in the November election by 3,437 votes after garnering only 45 percent of the vote.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Baxter declined to comment when asked if he thought the race was fair. He noted that state law doesn’t require candidates to say why they are asking for a recount and said he would answer questions after a recount is completed.

Mike Padden, who was in the middle of his second day as the 4th District’s new state senator Tuesday afternoon, said he had just been informed that Baxter had asked for a recount but didn’t know “what his rationale is.”

“The vote was pretty overwhelming. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Padden said.

“There is a high undervote,” he said, referring to the term used for a ballot that had no candidate marked for that race. “But you’d expect a high undervote when there’s no Democrat in the race.”


Documents:

Rush-Allen recount will be done by hand

The final outcome of the City Council race for a seat representing south Spokane won’t be decided until next week.

That’s when the Spokane County Election’s Office will recount ballots in a contest so close that state law required a second examination.

Former Councilman Mike Allen leads incumbent Richard Rush by a mere 88 votes.

Although it’s a lead of less than half a percentage point, it is a wide enough margin that is unlikely to shrink enough to change, considering past recounts. Recounts in Spokane County have generally changed tallies by a few votes or less.

The Spokane County Canvassing Board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton’s recommendation to count ballots by hand. State law only would have required the recount to be done manually if the difference had been within a quarter of a percentage point.

Dalton argued that the council race is the county’s first chance to test official ballots on a large scale since new scanners were installed this summer in the county’s six vote-counting machines, which were manufactured by Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software.

“A recount is a very rare opportunity to let us test the accuracy of the machines using the real ballots marked by actual voters,” Dalton said.

She added: “It’s an attempt to give closure to the candidates in the most definitive way possible.”

Allen lead over Rush grows by 6

This post has been changed to correct the change in Allen's lead.

The race between Richard Rush and Mike Allen for Rush's Spokane City Council seat representing the south district remains headed for a recount after the sixth day of counting.

Allen's lead grew by 10 to 98 on Wednesday, but the gap between him and rush remains within a half percentage point. Allen has 50.23 percent of the vote to Rush's 49.77 percent.

There are 268 votes left to count in the race, and most of those are ballots that won't be counted unless the voters come to the elections office to clear up descrepencies with their signature, said Spokane County Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin. No more counting is expected until Nov. 28. The results will be certified on Nov. 29. If the race remains within a half percentage point, a computer recount would occur early next month, McLaughlin said.

A recount in the Rush-Allen race would be the first computer recount in Spokane County since John Driscoll beat John Ahern for a 6th Legislative District House seat in 2008. That recount changed the tally only by two votes. McLaughlin said the office has completed a couple hand recounts since then for races that were within a quarter of a percentage point, including the 2009 race for Airway Heights mayor.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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