Recount gives Brier challenger 2-vote lead after he trailed by vote

EVERETT — A hand recount appears to have changed the outcome of a race for Brier City Council, propelling the challenger ahead of the incumbent.

Challenger Mike Gallagher picked up three votes in Thursday’s recount of ballots from the Nov. 3 all-mail election, while the total for incumbent Dennis Nick stayed the same.

Nick went into the recount leading by one vote, 992-991. Gallagher now leads 994-992.

The county’s election canvassing board is scheduled to meet Monday to certify the results in the Brier race and a race for commissioner in Snohomish County Fire District 12, elections manager Garth Fell said.

A hand recount also was conducted in the fire district race but did not change the outcome. Iris Lilly led Marilyn Sheldon by 10 votes before the recount and by nine votes afterward, 3,495-3,486.

State law requires machine recounts when the difference between candidates is less than one half of 1 percent and fewer than 2,000 votes. Hand recounts are required when that difference is one quarter of 1 percent and fewer than 150 votes.

In the Brier race, the recount found that three votes for Gallagher had been cast that were not previously read by the electronic vote-counting machines. A citywide hand recount was conducted Thursday, and after the total was found to have changed in two precincts, the votes were recounted in those precincts, Fell said.

The machines registered the three ballots as having been turned in but did not read the votes, Fell said. The hand recount turned up the votes.

“That’s pretty exciting,” Gallagher, 63, said when told of the results. He works in maintenance on the South Lake Union trolley in Seattle.

Nick, who was seeking his second term on the council, was disappointed to hear the news.

“Oh, gosh. That’s just devastating,” he said. “I can’t believe it, this has just been emotionally draining.”

Nick could request another recount within three days after the election is certified, but would have to pay for the recount if it does not change the results, Fell said. If the results were to change, the county would cover the cost.

The cost is 25 cents per ballot, so in the case of Brier it would come out to $593.75 for the whole city, Fell said. Nick could start with only the two precincts where the votes changed but if another change is found the whole city would be recounted.

Nick, 52, who works in maintenance at a retirement center in Woodinville, said he probably will not challenge the results.

“The job doesn’t pay that much,” he said. “It’s more volunteerism than anything else. I guess I did my one-and-done in politics for my life.”

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