By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Two recounts later, the results in the Sultan City Council Position 3 contest remain unchanged. Winner Rocky Walker received 476 votes with incumbent Councilmember Kay George trailing close behind at 472.
The second and final recount took place on Friday, Dec. 13 at the Snohomish County Auditor’s office in Everett. Both George and Walker observed the recount proceedings that were performed by four Snohomish County voting specialists. Two supervisors were also on-hand to oversee and confirm the ballot counts. The numbers matched the results obtained in the county’s mandated machine recount, as well as the results reported on Nov. 25 when the final election results were made available.
“I had no idea when I entered this race that I would have to wait until six weeks after the vote to be declared the winner,” said Walker.
Walker also stated that he has Sultan’s best interests at heart, and is looking forward to serving the city, as well as its citizens.
The election results will be certified on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Per Washington State law, any time election returns are within one half of 1 percent, a recount is mandatory. The mandated recount was performed by machine on Friday Dec. 6, after which George requested that a manual recount be performed.
Candidates can request an additional recount, but must cover the expense themselves.
The manual recount was performed by two teams of two ballot-counters. The ballots, which had been separated into four boxes, one for each of Sultan’s different voting precincts, were distributed to the ballot-counters a precinct at a time. They were then sorted into categories; write-in votes, under-votes, over-votes, votes for George and votes for Walker.
The total number of ballots cast in Sultan’s Position 3 contest was 1034.
Once the ballots were separated into categories, each voting specialist counted up the candidate votes, organizing the ballots into stacks of 20. They then recorded the total number of votes onto a log sheet, visually obstructing the information from their teammate. The ballots in each different category were counted this way, the totals recorded on the log sheet.
The ballots then changed hands, and each voting specialist recounted their teammate’s ballots, recording their findings independently.
After all the ballots for that precinct had been recounted, the supervisor was called over to verify the totals on the team’s log sheets and to confirm that the numbers recorded in each category matched. If the totals in any category did not match, the ballots were recounted again.
Once all the ballots had been recounted, the election officials released the results, unofficially declaring Walker the winner.
George will remain in office through the end of the year. Sultan’s last official council meeting for 2013 will take place on Dec. 19.
“I am honored to have been Sultan’s Councilperson for the past two years. I learned a lot and would certainly be willing to serve in this capacity again,” said George. “I hope the current council has the courage to correct that which is wrong and build on that which is right with our fair city.”
George stated after the first recount that she was at ease with whatever the end result. Her supporters encouraged her to request the additional manual recount.
“I sincerely thank my supporters and am proud to have lost by only four votes by running a clean campaign, stating only facts, never saying anything derogatory about my opponent and discouraging my supporters from doing so also,” said George. “For the record, it has been incorrectly spread that my goal is to destroy Sultan from within and that I do not volunteer in my community.”
“People who know me can attest that nothing could be further from the truth,” said George.