A voter-initiated recount will be filed on Thursday at the behest of proponents of Propositions 1 & 2
A vote recount for ballot Propositions 1 and 2 is being called by Santaquin citizens.
In last week’s municipal election, the proposition to allow the city to take out $9 million dollars to fund a new sewer plant, Proposition 1, failed to pass by a margin of four votes. This has caused proponents of the sewer bond to demand a recount of both propositions. Voter-initiated recounts are permitted by state election laws if 10 or more voters call for one.
A recount was already in place to be called by the city council on Wednesday, but at the time, city officials were unaware that Utah State Election Code doesn’t allow a city council to call a recount. The recount was originally marked as an agenda item for city council meeting this week until news of recount procedure was received.
According to City Manager Ben Reeves, the city administrators had been informed of incorrect recount request filing. Candidates themselves may file a recount request should they lose an election “by not more than a total of one vote per voting precinct” (Utah Code 20A-4-401)
Voter-initiated recounts, on the other hand, do not require a close margin to file a request. According the Utah Code 20A-4-401 on recount procedure, “Any 10 voters who voted in an election when any ballot proposition or bond proposition was on the ballot may file a request for a recount.”
Reeves said that a recount “will take place” and that it will most likely be filed on Thursday of this week. Newly elected city councilmen Richard Payne and Matt Carr have details regarding some of those individuals who will file the request.
Payne said the close margin is what is driving his supporters to initiate the recount. “It makes sense to do it,” said Payne. “It deserves a recount.”
When asked what direction he would take on the sewer issue should the vote stand after the recount, he said they would “explore other options”.
“It’s our responsibility to do what the people want,” said Payne.
Santaquin resident Brian Rowley is one of those who will file for the recount. He feels there is no harm in counting again, especially with a vote so close. Final tallies from the election showed 699 voted against Prop 1 and 695 voted in favor. Proposition 2 passed with 696 votes in favor and 693 against. Prop 2 will also be recounted due to the close margin even though it passed.
“We want to make sure the people’s voice is heard,” said Rowley. “Why not double check?”
The recount procedure also gives rights to “any person interested in a ballot proposition” to appoint a “counting poll watcher to observe the counting of ballots.”
The voters who initiate the recount will be required to incur all costs of conducting the recount. Rowley is aware of this stipulation and is prepared to help pay those costs.
Of the 10 absentee ballots the city has been waiting for, only one had arrived by Tuesday. Less is riding on those ballots now that it is clear a margin of three or less is not necessary to implement a recount.