Olympia Council race leads narrow

OLYMPIA - City Council candidate Jeannine Roe's lead over incumbent Joan Machlis narrowed from 83 to 55 votes in Wednesday's count, setting the stage for a possible recount.

An automatic machine recount is triggered when candidates’ vote totals are within 0.5 percent of each other when the vote is certified, said Steve Homan, elections manager for the Thurston County Auditor’s office. The race still is too close to call.

Roe and Machlis are separated by .47 of a percent. With 11,613 votes counted, Roe had 5,808, or 50.01 percent. Machlis had 5,753, or 49.54 percent. Fifty-two people – 0.45 percent – selected write-in candidates.

The candidates could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The auditor’s office is expected to release updated results about 5 p.m. today and possibly tomorrow, Homan said.

“There could be, definitely, a change,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen until it’s counted.”

Roe and Machlis are vying for City Council Position 6.

Votes will be counted until Nov. 24, when the results are certified, Homan said. In the meantime, the elections office will notify voters whose ballots have an issue – such as the declaration not having been signed – and give them a chance to rectify them. Also, ballots from military personnel will trickle in, and they will count if they’re postmarked by Election Day.

After certification, a canvassing board can order a machine recount for races in which the opponents are within 0.5 percent of each other, Homan said. If the recount results in totals within one-quarter of one percent of each other, a hand-recount is triggered. Candidates also can petition for a hand recount.

The race for City Council Position 1 also tightened slightly Wednesday, to a 232-vote difference. Karen Rogers had 5,804 votes, or 50.68 percent, to Karen Veldheer’s 5,572, or 48.65 percent. Rogers had been leading by 241 votes.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869