Despite losing his bid for Spokane City Council by nearly 6,000 votes, former state Rep. John Ahern has requested — and is paying for — a hand recount of four South Hill precincts totaling just over 1,700 ballots.
In a phone call with the Inlander today, Ahern refused to say why he's asking for the recount.
"I've really been instructed to keep quiet on this thing right now," he said. "Give me a call after the recount."
County Auditor Vicky Dalton says her office will set the final details tomorrow, but she expects the recount to be completed Monday. State law allows candidates to request recounts, but requires them to pay the cost of elections office employees' time and benefits if the race is within more than one-half of 1 percent.
Ahern paid a $429.50 (25 cents per vote) deposit to request the recount, and Dalton says his total cost will likely be around $1,500.
The precincts in which Ahern is requesting recounts (3219, 6219, 6225, 6220; see map here) are not necessarily those in which the results were the closest, so it remains unclear what his campaign may hope to glean from a recount.
Councilman Jon Snyder, who won the race against Ahern with 64.46 percent of the vote, says he's "not sure what they hope to find out" with the recount and he doesn't expect it to have any impact on the election because of his wide margin of victory. Spokane County GOP Chariman Ben Oakley says the party is not affiliated with Ahern's request and he does not know Ahern's reasoning.
"I don't get it," Oakley says.