Washington Terrace's Mayor Calls for Recount

Washington Terrace's Mayor Calls for Recount

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WASHINGTON TERRACE, Utah (AP) -- A recount will be conducted Thursday in the mayor's race after an absentee ballot showed up to break a tie.

Candidate Robert Garside was declared the winner by one vote after Monday's canvass, but his opponent, incumbent Mark Allen, called for the recount.

Both had 724 votes on Monday until Weber County election officials said they had discovered an unopened absentee ballot for Garside that had come in before the election

The incident is the latest in a string of gnarled twists in the town's election.

Last Tuesday, election officials declared a tie for the town's 4-year mayoral post after Allen and Garside each received 716 votes.

But less than 24 hours later, officials counted 14 provisional ballots -- those cast by voters without identification and later verified.

Those provisional ballots gave Garside 724 votes to Allen's 722, and apparently the victory.

But then two absentee ballots came in after the election, by the legal deadline on Friday, and were counted on Monday, putting the election into a tie.

But then Monday afternoon, the missing ballot was found and tipped the scales to Garside by one vote.

If, after Thursday's recount, the mayoral election is again a tie, the candidates will draw lots.

"Ties happen," said Weber County Elections Administrator Scott Hogensen.

The method to break the tie has to be fair and legal. Both candidates must agree to it. It could be flipping a coin, drawing a name out of a hat or drawing straws, Hogensen said.

"They can't do anything crazy, like pistols at dawn or pin the tail on the donkey," he said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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