Last-minute and corrected ballots could make all the difference in a Spokane City Council race.
Candidates in northwest council district, Naghmana Sherazi and Luc Jasmin III, are separated by just two votes, according to the most recent primary election tally posted last week by the Spokane County Elections Office.
But since Friday, the office has received 38 additional ballots by mail from northeast district that were postmarked before the election deadline and will count toward the final result. There have been 379 such ballots that have come in from across Spokane County.
That’s unusual, according to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.
Election Day was a week ago Tuesday. Dalton expects that delays in the United States Postal Service’s delivery of First Class Mail played a part in the later-than-normal arrival of ballots.
“These late arriving ballots reinforce the importance of every vote. Two races in this primary election may be decided by a handful of people who dropped their ballot in the mail on election day or who responded to the correction letter for a questioned signature,” Dalton said in a statement on Tuesday.
Dalton’s office has also cleared an additional 80 ballots out of the 341 ballots countywide that had previously been flagged due to issues with the voter’s signature. Of the 341 ballots, 27 were cast by voters registered in District 1.
Voters are able to correct their ballots until Aug. 16.
Sherazi currently holds a slight lead over Jasmin for second place in the three-way primary. Whoever receives more votes will move on to face the top vote getter, Jonathan Bingle, in the general election.
The race could require a recount.
In Washington, there is an automatic recount if the candidates finish within half a percentage point of one another. The recount is conducted by hand if the candidates are separated by less than one-quarter of a percentage point.
The election will be certified on Aug. 17, at which time it will be determined if a recount is necessary.
The race for Spokane City Council is not the only primary election result in question.
In the town of Rockford, Council Position 5 candidate Ivan Willmschen is in second place with 34 votes. Candidate Rachelle Arriaga has 33 votes.
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