More than a week after Election Day, the race for a Spokane City Council seat is still up in the air and appears headed for a recount.
With about 21,000 ballots counted in District 2, Mike Allen has just 98 more votes than Councilman Richard Rush. Allen served on the council for about two years before he was deposed in 2009 by Jon Snyder.
"It would take a statistical anomaly for Mr. Rush to catch up at this point, but that doesn’t mean it can't happen," says Allen. "I worked hard and I did things I think I needed to do to. And I think it was enough to win."
According to Mike McLaughlin, the Spokane County elections manager, there are about 200 "unresolved" ballots in the south Spokane district. Countywide, there are about 1,200 unresolved ballots.
"Either the voter did not sign their ballot when they sent it in," he says, or "the signature on the ballot's envelope did not match what we have in our system."
His office has reached out to those voters, asking them to come down and fix the issues with their ballots. If, after these ballots are resolved, the vote is still within one-half of one percent, there will be an automatic machine recount. But if this happens, McLaughlin doesn't expect the recount to change the outcome much.
"It hasn't [changed outcomes] in our experience," he says. "Maybe there's one or two" votes that swing the other way after a recount. Not 98.
"I'm a stats nerd," says Allen. "Following the laws of probability, it's definitely in my favor."
Asked if he's talked to Mayor-elect David Condon or any other incoming council members, Allen says he hasn't, saying it would be premature.
"I'm confident," he says, "but I'm not arrogant."