Spokane City Council candidate Naghmana Sherazi appears poised to advance to the general election, but not until a recount confirms her four-vote lead.
A hand recount will be conducted to verify the results of the primary election for Spokane City Council’s open seat in District 1, which represents northeast Spokane.
Sherazi finished just four votes ahead of Luc Jasmin III, according to the certified election results posted by the Spokane County Elections Office on Tuesday.
The two candidates are vying for second place in the primary election to represent northeast Spokane; second place means the candidate moves on to the November general election, while the third-place candidate is done. The top vote-getter of the Aug. 4 primary was Jonathan Bingle with 3,299 votes.
Sherazi finished with 1,889 votes compared with Jasmin’s 1,885 votes.
Because the second and third place candidates finished within 0.25% of each other, state law requires an automatic recount by hand.
After the initial days of counting, Sherazi held a two-vote lead over Jasmin. But ballots continued to trickle into the elections office well after primary day, causing some uncertainty.
Sherazi said she was grateful for the support, but is holding off on a victory dance.
“It’s not over until it’s over, so we’re waiting for the recount, and yes, it’s kind of exciting and nerve-wracking,” Sherazi said.
Sherazi said she has a campaign strategy in place and has operated with the assumption that she will be on the November ballot.
“We’re all charged up and ready to go as soon as we can,” Sherazi said.
The race has highlighted the importance of voting, Sherazi noted.
In a statement to The Spokesman-Review, Jasmin reiterated his trust in the process and Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.
He praised Sherazi and her campaign team for their effort, as well his own.
“Politically, we came from virtually nowhere to within a few votes of heading into the general election. This is a huge testament to supporters, community leaders and my amazing campaign team,” Jasmin said.
Regardless of the result, Jasmin, who owns a child care facility and is active in several other roles, will stay busy.
“I also want to let the residents of Spokane know that I love them and that I still plan to continue my work around housing, early learning, and safety,” Jasmin said.
Ballots will be pulled out and sorted on Monday to prepare for the manual recount on Tuesday. Dalton expects the counting to only take a day, but the office has booked time on Wednesday just in case it spills over. The results should be certified on Thursday.
There will be two or three teams of election officials who conduct the count. At each team’s table, there are two spaces for the campaigns to observe the process.
“Campaigns have been in contact with us throughout this whole thing, so they’re ready for it,” Dalton said.
Anyone who objects to the certified result can file a challenge in Spokane County Superior Court.
The race in District 1 was not the closest in Spokane County, nor is it the only one that requires a recount.
That award goes to the town of Rockford, which saw Council Position 5 candidate Ivan Willmschen tie for second place with 34 votes each. The number of votes cast in the election is so small, that in order to trigger a recount the race literally had to be tied.
If the recount confirms the tie, the result will be determined by a game of chance.
In Spokane County, a tie has traditionally been resolved through the use of a plastic milk bottle. Two balls with a number corresponding to each candidate are placed in the bottle. Whichever pours out determines the winner.
Ties are not actually all that uncommon, particularly in smaller towns with lower vote totals. The most recent tie was in 2019 in the town of Fairfield. There have been three ties in Spokane County since 2013.
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