South County Politics: School Board recount to start Tuesday morning

A hand recount in the race for an open position on the Edmonds School Board is scheduled to start Tuesday morning, Aug. 22.

The recount is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at the Snohomish County Elections Processing Center, 1818 Pacific Ave. in Everett.
Anyone can watch the recount.

Final results of the Aug. 1 primary election show candidate Cathy Baylor leading Cindy Sackett by seven votes for the right to face Deborah Kilgore in the Nov. 7 general election.

Kilgore has 9,819 votes (44.08 percent), ahead of Baylor, who has 6,165 votes (27.67 percent), and Sackett, who has 6,158 votes (27.64 percent).

The top two vote getters in the primary qualify for the November ballot.

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

County elections officials can’t start the hand recount until after they separate the 23,574 ballots cast within the school district from the rest of the 109,845 ballots cast countywide and to organize them by precinct. They expect that to take four days. It started Wednesday, Aug. 16, and continues through Monday, Aug. 21.

Then comes the actual counting. Two-person teams count stacks of ballots for each of the 129 precincts in the school district. If the vote count they agree on is the same as the original count, that stands; if their final conclusion is different from the original results, a supervisor from the elections office gives those ballots to a second team for comparison. That happens until they get the same total twice.

The teams have 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.

Snohomish County Elections Manager Garth Fell said Wednesday that he plans to have recount totals ready for certification July 29.

Either Baylor or Sacketti will face Kilgore in November for an open position on the Edmonds School District 15 board.

The Edmonds School District includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, part of Brier and unincorporated areas near those communities.

The candidates are seeking to replace retiring Board member Susan Phillips. Phillips represents director district 4, which straddles Highway 99 in the central part of the School District.

School Board candidates must live in the director district that they wish to represent, but residents of the entire school district vote to elect board members representing all five director districts.

— By Evan Smith
Evan Smith can be reached at

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