Hand recounts settle races in Lynnwood, Monroe

EVERETT — Recounts finally settled the outcomes of two close city council races in Lynnwood and Monroe.

Elections workers hand-counted more than 12,000 ballots Wednesday.

For the Lynnwood race, challenger Van AuBuchon beat longtime Councilman Jim Smith by a 10-vote margin, 3,635 votes to 3,625.

For the Monroe race, Jim Kamp beat former Councilman Mitch Ruth by two votes, 1,576 votes to 1,574.

The results are expected to be certified Friday.

There is also a machine recount scheduled today for one still-contested Mukilteo City Council seat. The difference in the race between the candidates was about a third of 1 percent. In that race, Emily Vanderwielen was winning with 3,027 votes against Terry Preshaw, who had 3,008 votes before today’s recount.

The Lynnwood and Monroe recounts were held in downtown Everett at an elections building where 10 tables were set up for the process with extra chairs set up for observers.

In total, 18 people sat and counted ballots from different precincts. They counted in silence. After opening the box for each precinct, the ballots were divided into piles depending on the vote. Then, each pile was counted twice. A third staff member verified the numbers were the same.

In both of the races, more ballots were counted than originally tabulated by the machines. Elections manager Garth Fell said that’s common, because sometimes voters do not properly mark their ballots. And the machines do not register them, he said.

“The purpose of the recount is to catch things the machine may have missed,” Fell said.

Both Ruth and Kamp were present for the recount.

Their race was tight throughout the election and was even tied on one occasion.

Kamp led early, but saw his advantage decrease over time. If the race had been tied, a coin flip would have decided the outcome.

“It was a shock,” he said about the preliminary results. “A lot of supporters started sending me emails asking if I had practiced my coin toss.”

Ruth said that the close race means the Monroe community is very divided.

The hand recount was triggered because the difference between candidates was less than one-fourth of one percent.

An additional recount was requested by Douglas Rupp for a seat as a commissioner for Fire District 28 last Thursday. The recount did not change the outcome, giving the victory to Rebecca Finney with 77 votes to 76.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.

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