The Nov. 30 Benton County Commission meeting only lasted 15 minutes, time enough to pat a few people at the auditor’s office on the back for the election and announce that a candidate had requested a vote recount.

The press release that the auditor’s office sent later that day announced that Benton City Council candidate Alex Weber had asked for a manual recount of the ballots in his race against David Sandretto. Sandretto defeated Weber 314 to 301 for position 3.  The margin of difference doesn’t fall within the state guidelines for recounts, so the candidate will have to pay for it.

If the margin was .25 percent the county would pay for a manual recount. A machine recount would be triggered at a .50 percent difference. One quarter of a percent would be less than two votes in this race that has a 13-vote spread.

A candidate who requests a manual recount must pay a deposit of $.25 a vote to start the recount. Recounts in Washington State – Elections & Voting – WA Secretary of State In this case, that is $154.  How long does it take to count 600 votes? The price seems rather low. 

The state law does seem to leave open the possibility of charging the requestor more.  According to the Washington Secretary of States Office, Recount Elections – Elections & Voting – WA Secretary of State “The requestor is responsible for the full cost as determined by the County Canvassing Board.”

If the recount reverses the election results, the county pays for the recount instead of the candidate.

In statistics we learn one can get better results in the amount of data points specially in large skews of data. Could a candidate ask for 10 recounts for a total of only $1540 and see where the mean is for their election results?The law is silent on multiple recounts.

According to the press release from the Benton County Auditor’s Office, The Benton County Canvassing Board will meet on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. to set the date, time, and place for the recount. The county election staff has recommended Monday, December 6 at 9:00 a.m. at the Benton County Voting Center located at 2610 N. Columbia Center Blvd. On Tuesday, Dec.7, the board will certify the results after the Benton County Board of Commissioners meeting. The public can observe the process. Contact the election department at 509-736-3085 for further information.

**I am Mike Lowery and will be helping the Observer cover events in Benton County. I have
spent about 25 years of my 60-year life in the Tri-Cities, most in Richland. After Army and a
short career working on boats, I went on to college at CBC. Then I worked 15 years on
commercial nuclear power plants. We moved back to Tri-Cities and have been in Richland for 20
years. I tried to help Hanford for 18 years. I have three degrees from Columbia Basin College,
Yes that’s weird. I studied economics and religion at Liberty University, St. Leos College in FL,
University of Illinois, University of Washington more at CBC. House dad now to my working wife, two cats and a dog. Our boys all work and study in the northwest. I spend time riding my electric bike or crashing it, building small wood and metal projects, enjoying electronic music and camping. Writing is something I love to do but not very good at it