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Recount to Happen Today in City Commission Election

Canvassing of Votes Leaves Four-Vote Gap Between Candidates

Four voters who had provided incomplete information when voting on election day were able to "cure" their ballots through contact with the Supervisor of Elections ahead of Thursday's canvassing board meeting. Their effort has moved the needle in the District 2 city commission election between incumbent commissioner Daniel Williams and challenger Brandon Alvarado, but not enough to avoid a machine recount, which will take place today (Friday, April 5).

The canvassing board, consisting of Mayor Jack Hilligoss, Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson, and Commissioner Keith Thompson, conducted their review at 5 p.m. Thursday and accepted four ballots that had been cured by the voters. Upon being opened and read by the city Clerk Jennifer Nanek, they included three votes for Williams, and one for Alvarado. That result falls well within the one-half percent margin requiring a machine recount.

News file photo

Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards and her staff at the county office will conduct the machine recount today (Friday, April 5) to determine the winner in the extremely-close city commission District 2 race.

After the unofficial election-day tally left City Commissioner Daniel Williams with a one-vote lead over challenger Brandon Alvarado, 939 to 938, the focus quickly shifted to the six incomplete mailed ballots, along with three that were challenged at the polls. Two of the latter were ultimately discarded because they were not cast by registered city voters.

The total resulting from the machine recount is also critical, as if it remains within one-quarter of one percent, a "manual" recount of all "outstacked" ballots will also take place.

Public viewing of the process is permitted. A manual recount will also include visual review of ballots that may have been damaged, or contain overmarked or undermarks in which a voter may have marked none or more than one circle, sometimes with a stray pencil mark, causing them to be rejected during a machine count. It is unknown haw many ballots might fall into that category.

Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards explained that "in a manual recount the canvassing board reviews each ballot that was 'outstacked' previously by the voting machine during the machine recount to establish if they can determine any intent by a voter." The recount will be conducted by the canvassing board at the elections office in Bartow.


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