Elections

Goen leads by 4 going into recount

Canvassing Board members Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson (left), Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider and Deputy Prosecutor Dan Mitchell, certify the Nov. 3 election results as Michele Reagan takes notes. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Canvassing Board members Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson (left), Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider and Deputy Prosecutor Dan Mitchell, certify the Nov. 3 election results as Michele Reagan takes notes.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

The Island County Election Canvassing Board certified the Nov. 3 election results Tuesday afternoon at the Auditor’s office in Coupeville.

But there’s still one race in dispute.

Jerry Goen is ahead of incumbent Larry Morse by four votes in November’s race for a North Whidbey Fire District Commissioner seat, as of Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The Whidbey News-Times reported that Goen was ahead by two votes Nov. 13, however, the elections office received about 24 ballots between then and Nov. 24 when the results were certified. Some were late arrivals and others were held until “signature issues” could be fixed.

By law, all ballots postmarked before the election must be counted, said Michele Reagan, deputy auditor. Ballots with resolved “signature issues” were also added to the final count.

Neither Goen nor Morse were at the certification meeting.

A hand re-count of about 5,800 ballots will begin Monday at 8 a.m., said auditor Sheilah Crider. First, these ballots must be separated out from the nearly 28,000 ballots cast in Island County.

“They’ll need to be sorted then counted,” she said. “Only 19 precincts out of the 83 will need to be recounted.”

Election workers and Auditor’s Office staff will work in four-hour shifts and the job will likely take “two to three days,” she said.

Hand recounts are required by law if there’s a difference of fewer than 250 votes or a margin of less than one-quarter of 1 percent.

A difference of four votes definitely calls for a manual recount, Crider said. If there was a difference of 12 or more, then the recount could have been done by machine.

Both Goen and Morse were notified of the recount by phone, email and certified mail on Tuesday.

The hand recount results will be certified Thursday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Auditor’s office.

The last hand recount occurred last year during the Island County commissioner race between incumbent Mac McDowell and Angie Homola, which Homola ultimately won by 62 votes.

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