La Mirada~In a race too close to call, all ballots will be recounted in the La Mirada City Council race along with 326 additional ballots not yet counted.
There are five candidates running for two open seats.
When vote counting ended last night late, Pauline Deal led all candidates with 1,693 votes. For second place however, Steve Keithly leads Andrew Sarega by only nine votes, 1,300 to 1,291. There are still 326 provisional ballots to be counted today, so the race for second had to wait.
However, it was announced this morning, ALL ballots will be recounted today, before the provisional, due to mechanical issues experienced last night.
The recount will take place today at 2 p.m. at City Hall.
The ballot-counting was plagued with problems last night, forcing the city to use a back-up machine, delaying the process.
Deputy City Manager Anne Haraksin told us this morning that the firm they use, Martin & Chapman advised them to recount, “They told us that due to the race being so close it would be a good idea to run all ballots through a machine again.”
She said ballot operators provided by the company experienced problems throughout the evening.
Martin & Chapman is an election and consultation service company based in Anaheim. According to their website, they “are the primary election consultant and supplier for the 65+ cities who conduct their own elections in Los Angeles County.”
Today, the firm will bring two different machines to count the ballots.
Haraksin reiterated, “No candidates contacted us to demand a recount, we are strictly going by the advice given to us by Martin & Chapman.”
After a second machine was brought in last night, and some issues still persisted, Haraksin said, “We think it might be some sort of power problem.” She said that issue will be resolved today as well before the recount.
In a different twist, the provisional ballots have not been counted at all yet, and will probably decide the race for second.
Those uncounted vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots will be tallied around 4 p.m. today, shortly after the recount.
173 of those are ballots received at city hall Monday after the city inspected the initial VBM ballots and sealed the box at a decided time, a normal process, said Haraksin. After the boxes were sealed, the city received additional ballots by residents at City Hall, as well as additional VBM ballots picked up from the P.O. Box at the Post Office, again, a normal process.
The remaining 153 VBM ballots are from residents who applied to vote-by-mail, who then decided to drop off their ballots at different polling locations throughout town.
Haraksin said the 173 additional VBM ballots received after the box-sealing is the most ever for the city, probably attributed to the fact that more La Mirada residents chose to vote by mail this time around.
She said 2,000 more people voted this way than the last election two years ago.
As of know, Mayor Gabe Garcia has captured 855 votes with Randy Gray grabbing 725.
UPDATE: Ballots not yet counted is now up to 391 with the addition of 63 additional true provisional ballots. City offiicials have been unable to get a machine to work properly at City Hall. The latest is all ballots from last night are to be counted by hand, and then the 391 additional VBM and provisional ballots will be counted immediately following.