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Recount expected in 5-vote CdA race

Thu., Nov. 5, 2009

Recount expected in 5-vote CdA race

The losing candidate in a tight Coeur d’Alene City Council race formally asked the city clerk for a recount 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 for 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.”

Kennedy received 3,165 votes to Brannon’s 3,160.

The attorney general must review the recount request. If it is found to have merit, a recount will be ordered, Weathers said.

If the order is issued, the recount would have to take place within 10 days. Both the attorney general’s office and the secretary of state’s office would oversee it, Weathers said.

It would be the first time in Weathers’ 23 years with the city that she’s seen a recount, she added.

County Clerk Dan English said countywide turnout was 22.8 percent and estimated Coeur d’Alene’s was about 30 percent.

In state and county races, English said, an automatic recount is triggered if a race is won by less than one-tenth of 1 percent. In city races, the losing candidate must request the recount if the margin is that close, Weathers said.

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