South County Politics: Baylor holds four-vote lead as recount ends early

Cathy Baylor

School candidate Baylor gets November spot by four votes

School Board candidate Cathy Baylor has come out of a recount with a four-vote margin over rival Cindy Sackett for second place on the Aug. 1 primary election ballot.

That will give Baylor a place on the Nov. 7 general-election ballot.

A hand recount Tuesday in the race for the open position on the Edmonds School Board showed piano instructor Baylor with 6,165 votes to 6,161 for Sackett, a former officer of the Edmonds Schools Foundation. Both candidates are behind educational researcher Deborah Kilgore, who got 9,824 votes and will face Baylor in November.

Baylor had a seven-vote lead when results were certified last week, but the hand recount added three votes to Sackett’s total and five to Kilgore’s, while Baylor’s count was unchanged.

The recount showed 135 write-in votes, 1,239 ballots that left the position blank and 50 ballots that were disqualified because they showed marks for more than one candidate.

State law requires a recount when the difference between two candidates is less than 0.50 percent of the two-candidate total, and a hand-recount when the difference is less than 0.25 percent. The certified difference of seven votes was 0.06 percent.

Based on a two-candidate vote total of 12,323 for Baylor and Sackett combined, a 61-vote difference would require a machine recount, and a 30-vote difference would make it a hand recount.

Baylor and Kilgore will run to replace Board member Susan Phillips, who represents director district 4, which straddles Highway 99 in the central part of the Edmonds School District. Phillips is not seeking re-election.

School Board candidates must live in the director district that they wish to represent, but residents of the entire Edmonds School District vote to elect board members representing all five director districts. The Edmonds School District includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, part of Brier and unincorporated areas near those municipalities.

Another School Board position on the November ballot is from director district 2, the district that board member Ann McMurray represents. She will run in November against Mitchell Below, a content developer and 3rd Vice Chair of the 1st District Democrats. This position did not appear on the primary ballot because only two candidates are running.

Recount happened fast

Snohomish County officials had scheduled three days to recount the Edmonds School Board ballots, but they got the job done in four hours. County Elections Manager Garth Fell said Wednesday that he had been able to assign extra teams of ballot counters and that those teams were able to count at a faster speed than he had expected.

Those teams had to determine voter intent on each ballot, especially from marks that are too light for ballot counting machines to pick them up.

The teams are made up of seasonal elections employees.

The ability to catch marks that don’t show up on counting machines and the ability to identify intended corrections mean that recount totals go up more often then they go down.

Officials will certify the recount Aug. 29.

–By Evan Smith
Evan Smith can be reached at

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