County's ballot recounts begin in pair of races

Recounts of ballots in two local races in the Nov. 4 election started at 8:30 this morning, Jackson County election officials said.

Four boards of four people each have been called in to recount results in an Ashland City Council race at the request of candidate Pam Vavra.

Election results certified Nov. 24 showed that incumbent Russ Silbiger won with 46.22 percent (4,751 votes) to Vavra's 45.98 percent (4,726 votes). The third candidate, Ben Chew, received 7.48 percent (769 votes).

A difference of 19 votes would have triggered an automatic recount.

The four boards will conduct the hand recount of five Ashland precincts (No. 2, 4, 7, 10 and 13).

Ashland's rural precinct No. 18 will not be recounted because voters living in that area cannot vote in City of Ashland elections.

Vavra deposited the $15 per precinct required when a candidate requests a recount, and she will have to pay the remaining amount when the total cost of the recount is determined, said County Clerk Chris Walker.

If the outcome of the election changes, Vavra's deposit will be refunded.

In the race for a third City Council seat in Jacksonville, an automatic recount was triggered when Dan Winterburn led incumbent Donna Schatz by just three votes — 618 to 615. State law requires an administrative recount when the vote totals are within two-tenths of 1 percent of all ballots cast for both candidates.

A four-person board will count the votes by hand in the Jacksonville race.

Walker has said she hopes to have both recounts done by Friday.

Walker said that, although anything can happen, she does not expect the results to change.

"We pride ourselves on being very accurate," she said.

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