EVERETT — Cassie Franklin extended her lead on Judy Tuohy in the race for Everett mayor Monday with about 450 ballots left to count.
Franklin was ahead of Tuohy by 199 votes in the latest results released by the Snohomish County auditor.
She had 7,663 votes, or 44.8 percent, to Tuohy’s 7,464 votes, or 43.7 percent. That is a large enough margin to avoid an automatic recount.
Another 1,963 votes, or 11.5 percent, were cast for a write-in, presumably many of those for Gary Watts who registered as a write-in candidate.
An excited Franklin declined Monday to claim victory.
“I think the results are looking extremely positive for our campaign,” she said.
Tuohy on Monday did not comment directly on falling behind or whether she might seek a recount regardless of the outcome which is always an option.
“At this point we will just wait and see what the final count ends up being before making any decisions,” she said in an email.
Franklin and Tuohy are both midway through their first full term on the City Council. The winner will succeed Mayor Ray Stephanson in January in a full-time job paying about $182,000 a year.
Whoever triumphs also will secure a place in history as the first woman elected mayor in Everett’s history.
Tuohy led by 49 votes on election night. Her lead dipped to 7 the next night and climbed to 19 Thursday. At that point, a total of 12,557 ballots had been counted.
On Friday, the number surged to 16,823 after 4,266 were tallied.
Those ballots — a mix of ones that arrived by mail or were deposited in drop boxes on Election Day — went largely Franklin’s way as she went ahead by 169 votes.
On Monday, her lead grew by another 30, to 199, after another batch of 267 ballots were counted.
Franklin said the count in this election is similar to what happened in the primary. In the August election, Tuohy initially led but Franklin came from behind to win.
“What you’ll see is my voters vote late,” she said. She suggested early analysis found many less traditional voters supporting her waited until the last minute to act.
So far, 17,090 Everett ballots have been tallied and about 450 ballots remain, said Garth Fell, the county’s elections manager.
He anticipated the vast majority of those would be processed and counted by Wednesday. However, he said, they anticipate ballots might still trickle in from military and overseas voters. Results will not be final until certified Nov. 28.
Processing these remaining ballots is labor intensive. Workers must make a duplicate of each one because the voter did something to their original ballot making it unreadable by the counting machine. For example, voters might have marked a wrong box and tried to erase, white out or cross it off and then mark the other box.
Also, the total does not include 50 ballots that have not been approved for counting because of questions related to signatures on the returned envelopes. Election staff sent notices to each of those voters informing them that they have until Nov. 27 to fix the problem in order to have their ballot tallied.