DARRINGTON — The election was Nov. 7, but the results for one spot on the Darrington School Board won’t be known for at least another week and possibly longer.
The race is a classic example of how valuable one vote can be.
The outcome could hinge on a single uncounted ballot in the hands of the Skagit County Auditor’s Office.
For now, former school district superintendent and high school principal Dave Holmer has a one-vote lead over fellow candidate Jennie Requa.
They are knotted at 282 to 282 in Snohomish County, but the school district straddles the line with Skagit County. Holmer leads in Skagit 24 to 23. The candidates are vying for an open seat now held by Joe Perrault, who did not seek re-election.
After their most recent count Wednesday, Snohomish County elections officials had a handful of ballots left, but none from the Darrington district.
Skagit County reported it has one uncounted ballot from Darrington. Its next scheduled count is Nov. 27.
If the ballot goes to Requa, the candidates would be tied at 283 to 283.
Skagit County also received two ballots from the Darrington district that didn’t have signatures. Elections officials mailed those voters letters to offer a chance to comply with the signature requirement, which would mean the ballots could be included in the next count.
Tradition in the event of a tie in Snohomish County is a coin flip. “The winner gets the office and the loser gets the coin,” said Garth Fell, the county’s election manager.
Holmer has been watching the returns with interest, but doesn’t seem to be losing any sleep. He figures the board should be fine with either candidate.
“She is a really nice lady,” he said of his opponent. “It’s one of those kinds of things where it’s close. Regardless of the outcome, I think we both have something to offer our school district. It’s just wait and see.”
Requa could not be reached for comment.
An automatic hand recount is quite possible. It would be required if the margin is within three votes, Fell said.
A recount most recently was needed in an Edmonds School Board race in the primary. The recount changed the vote totals, but not the outcome.
In the Darrington race, it’s possible a single miscounted ballot could swing the election.
The school board in the district of slightly more than 400 students already is in the midst of turnover. A recent controversy over whether the district can afford to keep Superintendent Buck Marsh on the payroll has led to some community outcry. His contract has not been renewed.
At least two board members recently resigned. The district on Nov. 15 began seeking applicants for those openings.
Darrington is a school district with three geographic districts and two at-large positions.
The openings on the board are for director districts 2 and 3. Anyone interested in those posts or the boundaries of those director districts can call 360-436-1323 or submit an application to 1065 Fir Street in Darrington. Applications are due Dec. 7.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.