3-vote margin forces recount

JACKSONVILLE — A three-vote margin in the race for a third City Council seat will bring an automatic recount that probably won't occur until the second or third week in December.

Final unofficial results posted by the Jackson County Clerk's Office Tuesday showed Dan Winterburn with 618 votes, or 14.63 percent of the total, and incumbent Donna Schatz with 615 votes, or 14.56 percent.

Automatic recounts are triggered when two candidates are within one-fifth of one percent of the total votes cast for both, said Donna Connor, elections deputy. In the Schatz-Winterburn race, that figure is 2.466 votes, which is rounded up to three votes, triggering the recount, Connor said.

"It would only (change) if there was a straggler in the mail from another county," Connor said. "Sometimes you end up with a single ballot that gets added in at the last moment. That's why they are unofficial still."

County officials will certify final results on Monday. The automatic recount will probably take place in the second or third week of December, Connor said. County officials must first do hand recounts of three races in two precincts to verify results.

"I have a birthday Sunday. I was hoping to find out Monday," said Winterburn. "We will find out. The world will go on."

Some people congratulated Winterburn on a victory at a city economic committee meeting Monday, but he cautioned them, "Don't jump off the cliff yet. It looks good, but let's hear it officially."

"So you sweat it some more, oh heavens," said Schatz. "There's been a lot of people wanting to know what's going to happen.

"I think I answered that question six or seven times yesterday. I'm sure Dan had the same experience."

Council members are elected at large in Jacksonville, with the top three vote-getters securing four-year terms. Linda Meyers topped with field with 776 votes, followed by Paul Becker with 653. Besides those elected, another council member will be appointed in January when current Councilman Bruce Garrett resigns to take over as mayor. Garrett was unopposed for the position.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.

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