Park City Council primary recount requested as last spot on ballot sought
The Park City Council field was set on Tuesday, pending the results of a recount requested late Friday afternoon, two weeks after the primary election left the final spot on the ballot in question and days before the traditional launch of the fall election season in the community.
The elected officials, acting in their role as the Board of Canvassers, certified the results of the Aug. 13 primary. The top five finishers were not in doubt in the canvass, but sixth place was a close contest between Daniel Lewis and Chadwick Fairbanks III. The elected officials certified a sixth-place finish by Lewis. He tentatively advanced to the November ballot by a two-vote margin over Fairbanks. Fairbanks on Friday, however, requested a recount.
There are six spots on the ballot on Election Day in November, meaning only one candidate is dropped in the primary. Lewis received 193 votes to the 191 Fairbanks garnered, an extraordinarily close finish for a Park City election. The turnout was 28.8 percent.
The other candidates, in order of finish in the primary:
• incumbent City Councilor Nann Worel
• incumbent City Councilor Becca Gerber
• Max Doilney
• Ed Parigian
• Deanna Rhodes
The canvass itself on Tuesday was straightforward. Park City Attorney Mark Harrington told the elected officials participation in the canvass by the two incumbent City Councilors who are campaigning did not constitute a conflict of interest. The elected officials cast a unanimous vote certifying the results. There was no public input. Lewis and Fairbanks were both in attendance in the nearly empty City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.
The canvass was held less than a week before Labor Day, the traditional launch of the fall campaign in Park City. Candidates typically march in the Miners Day parade on Monday. The campaign is expected to center on longstanding issues like growth, the economy and traffic. The candidates in the primary season generally agreed on the overarching issues but offered differing strategies in their approaches to them. The three winners will be sworn into office for four-year terms in early January.
Fairbanks on Friday afternoon requested a recount, a bid to close the narrow, two-vote gap between himself and Lewis for the final spot on the Election Day ballot in November.
Friday was the deadline for such a request. Fairbanks had indicated previously he was considering asking for a recount, but it was not clear until he sent the request to City Hall whether he would do so. Fairbanks did not return a phone message seeking comment.
In a one-page letter to City Recorder Michelle Kellogg, Fairbanks said he desires a recount and inspection of the ballots as well as the envelopes in the vote-by-mail election. The letter said he wants to invite the Lewis campaign and the media to monitor and observe the recount.
Fairbanks in the letter questioned the procedure the Summit County Clerk’s Office may use for the recount, saying state election code “authorizes a recount, not a rerun” of the ballots.
“A rerun is simply a machine retabulation of the ballots. However, the essence of a recount is to eliminate all possible sources of error including the original machine tabulation which would be repeated in a machine retabulation. Manually and physically inspecting and counting all ballots is the widely accepted definition and process of an elections recount,” Fairbanks said in the letter.
The letter also said: “We look forward to participating in this very important civic process. We hope our competitors will also show up as well as the media in an exercise of transparency and education for the general public to see just how great our democratic process is.”
Kellogg in an email response to Fairbanks indicated the recount was scheduled Saturday morning at the County Courthouse.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with information about the recount request.
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