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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County supervisors on Wednesday decided to recount votes in a deadlocked Marion City Council race rather than drawing the winner’s name.
“We’re trying to avoid declaring a winner when there will be a recount, and we would have to go through this process again,” Supervisor Stacey Walker said.
Initially, supervisors proposed to draw a name out of a hat to break the tie in the at-large Marion City Council race between incumbent Randy Strnad and challenger Dale Monroe.
Initially, Strnad, 52, an insurance agent, was down by one vote after the Nov. 2 election — 3,236 to 3,237.
But after Tuesday’s official vote canvass, which included provisional ballots, Strnad pulled ahead by one vote — 3,244 to 3,243.
But then, after Tuesday’s canvass, the auditor’s office discovered a write-in vote for Monroe, 70, a retired educator — someone wrote in his name on a ballot rather than checking the box beside his name — leaving both candidates with 3,244 votes.
At Wednesday’s meeting, supervisors noted a recount could result in a new tally. If the recount ends in a tie, supervisors then will draw the winner’s name out of a hat.
“It didn’t seem wise to take action, pull from a hat and declare a winner, knowing a recount is coming and the results could be either way anyway,” Walker said.
Supervisor Louie Zumbach agreed and said he thinks going through the recount process is “cleaner” than the board deciding a “winner” in a drawing, given that both candidates have said they would request a recount.
“All the votes will be counted, but it could be a different result,” Zumbach said.
Monroe, now officially down by one vote, will be the one calling for the recount.
“They (the supervisors) supposedly followed the legal avenues available to them and are forcing us to have a recount,” Monroe, who attended the Wednesday supervisors meeting, told The Gazette. “I’m going to request it, and I’m sure Randy would’ve done the same. Let’s move forward.”
The request for a recount must be filed by 5 p.m. Friday.
After that request, a three-person board will be appointed to do the recount. Each candidate will pick a member of their choosing and then agree on a third member. If they can’t agree, a district judge will appoint the third person by next Thursday, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller told The Gazette.
The three-member board will pick the date for the recount at a time when all three can attend.
“It’s not a slam dunk,” Miller said. “It’s not going to be an easy feat for people to get together and do this. The candidates will have to be particular about who they have do this.”
The Auditor’s Office, Miller said, doesn’t do the recount but is there to assist.
“That’s the law,” he said. “It’s a long, drawn-out process, but I’m OK with what the board did today. It’s their certification, and it’s totally up to them.”
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