Recounts planned for 2 Pierce County races

Pierce County will conduct mandatory recounts in the race for Pierce County Council District No. 4 and to determine the new Precinct Committee Officer in a Fife precinct, Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson announced Wednesday.

The recount in County Council District No. 4 is between second-place finisher Ken Grassi and third-place finisher Sharon Benson. Final results, certified on Aug. 21, show the two candidates separated by 41 votes, or .454 percent. The recount will determine which candidate advances to the General Election to face Connie Ladenburg, the top vote getter. Ladenburg finished with 7,787 votes, followed by Grassi with 4,536 and Benson with 4,495. Chris Nye finished fourth with 3,025 votes. A total of 20,959 ballots will be recounted. County Council District No. 4 comprises parts of downtown Tacoma, South Tacoma, Fircrest and University Place.

In Precinct 25-228, final results show the two Republican candidates Nathaniel Hackett and John C. Perry tied with 94 votes each. Precinct Committee Officer races appear only on the Primary Election ballot. A total of 370 ballots will be recounted. The recount will determine the winner of this race. Precinct 25-228 is located in Fife.

“We have one very close race and another that is a tie,” said Anderson. “These recounts need to be finalized quickly so we can move on with the General Election. We need voters’ pamphlets and ballots printed and ready to mail in the second week of September. It’s quite a push for us.”

State law requires a mandatory machine recount when final results show the difference between the number of votes cast for a candidate apparently nominated and the number of votes for the apparently defeated opponent is less than 2,000 votes and also less than one-half of one percent. For local races, should the difference be less than 150 votes and also less than one-fourth of one percent the recount shall be conducted manually by hand.

The recount will begin Thurs., Aug. 23 at 9 a.m. in the Pierce County Election Center, located at 2501 S. 35th St., Suite C, in Tacoma. The recount is expected to last four days. The Pierce County Canvassing Board will meet on Tues., Aug. 28 at 3 p.m. to certify the results of the recounts. In the County Council District No. 4 race, a mandatory machine recount will be conducted. Ballots will be re-tabulated on the County’s vote tabulating equipment. In the tied Precinct Committee Officer race, the ballots will be recounted by hand by election workers. Should the results remain tied after the recount, the winner will be determined by lot. “If the race remains tied the canvassing board will determine the winner by drawing a ball containing the winning name from a rotating raffle drum,” Anderson said.

The recounts are expected to cost approximately $30,000. Pierce County, the main jurisdiction involved in the recount, will be responsible for the majority of the cost. The Pierce County Auditor’s Office is responsible for elections, licensing services, a variety of public records and animal control services.

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson. (COURTESY PHOTO)