The losing candidate in a tight Coeur d’Alene City Council race formally asked the city clerk for a recount on Wednesday.
Jim Brannon lost to incumbent councilman Mike Kennedy by five votes. Because that is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all votes cast (6,325), Brannon had the right to make the request and to have the city pay the expenses of the recount, city Clerk Susan Weathers said.
“In my mind we know nothing more than we knew at 8 o’clock when the polls closed last night; and that is that it is going to be a very close race,” Brannon said Wednesday afternoon. “There is a 50-50 chance we could switch. I fully expect to win.”
Kennedy said the recount is part of the process, but he has “great confidence” in Kootenai County’s elections officials and believes the initial count will hold up.
“In the grand scheme of things, it’s only five votes, but the margin of error rate with those machines is next to zero,” Kennedy said of the county’s optical scan system. “They had the software technicians there last night. They said it went flawlessly. I just don’t foresee any changes. But we’ll go through the process and go from there.”
Kennedy earned 3,165 votes to Brannon’s 3,160.
The attorney general must review the recount request and, if it is found to have merit, an order of recount will be issued, Weathers said. There’s no official timeline, she said, “But the attorney general is very aware this is holding peoples’ lives at bay.”
Once the order is issued, the recount has to take place within 10 days. Both the attorney general’s office and the secretary of state oversee it, Weathers said. This is the first time in her 23 years with the city that Weathers has experienced a recount, she added.
County Clerk Dan English told The Spokesman-Review that countywide turnout was 22.76 percent and estimated the city of Coeur d’Alene’s at about 30 percent.
English said in state and county races, an automatic recount is triggered if a race is won by less than one-tenth of 1 percent. However, in city races, the losing candidate must request the recount if the margin is that close, Weathers said.