Hockinson school board race going to recount

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One of a multitude of North Clark County races in the November general election is so close that it’ll head for a mandatory recount.

As of the Nov. 23 certification for the election, the race for Hockinson School District Board of Directors District 1 seat had a difference of only 11 votes. Challenger Teresa VanNatta, a teacher and business owner, had the marginal lead of 1,600 votes while the appointed incumbent Tim Hawkins, a career business executive, secured 1,589 ballots.

State law dictates a recount is needed if a race has a difference of votes between candidates fewer than 2,000 and less than one-half percent of the total number of votes cast, according to the Municipal Research and Services Center. The percentage difference in the race is .34 percentage points.

As of the initial count of votes, VanNatta held a clearer lead, beginning with about 55.3% of the votes. As more ballots were counted, the lead shrunk until it entered the recount range.

The county has had 13 elections with mandatory recounts since April 2000, Clark County Elections Director Cathie Garber said. Seven of the recounts were in even-year elections, while this recount makes six for odd-year races.

This past election featured another mandatory recount race in Vancouver. The city’s council position 1 race has Kim Harless leading John Blom by 55 votes.

“We’ve had a few that had multiple races on them,” Garber said. “It’s not unheard of.”

Garber said the recount process began on Nov. 29 as ballot boxes were unsealed in front of observers. Ballots involved with the recounts would be sorted for about three days. The actual recount wasn’t set to begin until at least Dec. 6 with the possibility of it starting on Dec. 7 if the sorting is still ongoing, Garber said.

Garber said for the school board race the recount should only take one day. Once counting is done, the county will convene a canvassing board to certify results, which then will be posted online at clark.wa.gov/elections.

If the race remains as close as it currently is following the recount, Garber said VanNatta would be certified as the winner of the Hockinson school board seat. 

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