August. 6 – Votes are likely to be recounted in the race to choose a city council in northeastern Spokane, where a very thin margin separates the second and third candidates.
Naghmana Shirazi led Luke Jasmine III by just two votes following the third day of scheduling on Thursday. Anyone who receives more will move on to challenge Jonathan Bingle in the general election in November.
Under state law, a recount is conducted if candidates finish within a positive percentage point of each other. An automated recount is performed if the gap is less than 0.5%. Votes are counted manually if the separation is only 0.25%.
In Northeast Spokane, that means Yasmin and Shirazi should be within 8 votes for manual recount and 15 votes for recount, according to Spokane County auditor Vicki Dalton.
Shirazi currently has 1,875 votes, while Yasmine has 1,873 votes. Bingle easily took first place.
With only about 30 votes left to count across Spokane County, and a few likely to flock through the mail, Dalton said the race will likely require a recount.
Dalton does not expect the Spokane County Elections Office to persevere publishing updated results on a daily basis until August 4. 17, when the election results are certified.
Once results are approved, Dalton said, campaigns are given a few days’ notice to accumulate monitors for a recount if necessary.
If a manual recount is required, two Spokane County Elections Bureau employees will count the votes independently and compare the results. Once they match, they are compared against the device’s results.
“We do a lot of manual recounts, so we’re used to that,” Dalton said.
Jasmine told The Spokesman-Review he trusted the process, and noted that the gap has narrowed with each updated count this week.
“We were continuing our campaign until the final day trying to get people to vote, and to aid them understand the importance of voting,” Yasmin said. “Looking at how close he is now, people are starting to understand, you know what, every sound counts.”
Shirazi agreed that the results showed the importance of voting. She is “cautiously confident” that she will advance, and that any of the progressive candidates will stand a pleasing chance against Bingle.
“I think both of us are really pleasing candidates for the council,” Shirazi said. “Of course I wish it was me, but if I didn’t, he ran a pleasing campaign and he deserved it, just as I ran a pleasing campaign and I deserve it.”
The closeness of the race has led to campaigning uncertainty, but it’s business as usual for Jasmine, who said he’s still working to get in fore of as many people as conceivable in Northeast Spokane.
“Obviously we hope it turns out our way, (but) regardless of the results, I will persevere to work for the people and do everything I can to aid amplify the Northeast and needs,” Yasmin said.
Shirazi said her campaign is slowing down, but “that was going to happen anyway; we’ve campaigned aggressively.”
“We’ve already sort of made plans to take a week and relax a bit,” Shirazi said.
The town of Rockford is facing a tight election for fifth place on the city council, with second-place candidate Evan Willemchin leading by 34 votes to 33 for Rachel Arriaga. But it is unlikely to require a recount unless it ends in a tie, as the difference between 34 and 33 is greater than 0.5%.
If the votes are recounted and the result is already a tie, the winner is sure by a game of chance.