Park City primary: and what if there is a tie for the final ballot spot?
The Park City Council primary election could end up a toss-up — literally.
As the Tuesday canvass nears, the contest for the sixth and final spot on the Election Day ballot in November remains undecided with a narrow margin separating the sixth-place finisher and the candidate in seventh place.
Chadwick Fairbanks III is currently in sixth place, which would advance him to November if his position holds, while Daniel Lewis is in seventh place. A two-vote margin separates the two after the initial counting. There were approximately 220 outstanding ballots that had not been qualified as valid or counted at the time, though.
The canvass on Tuesday will include all the ballots that will be counted.
The two-vote spread between Fairbanks III and Lewis makes the canvass far more intriguing than is typical. The Park City Council, acting in its role as the Board of Canvassers, is scheduled to essentially certify the primary election results at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
Should Fairbanks III and Lewis tie, the sixth spot on the ballot will likely be decided through a coin toss. City Hall election rules follow those adopted by the state that if two or more candidates end with the same number of votes the winner is determined by lot, meaning they are picked through some sort of selection by chance. City Hall says a coin toss is used most commonly.
The City Hall election officer — City Recorder Michelle Kellogg — would determine the sixth name on the ballot by lot within 30 days of the canvass. The event would be public.
Fairbanks III is a consultant and an entrepreneur who has run for office before, most recently challenging Rep. Rob Bishop in the 2016 congressional election. He lives in Old Town and has lived in Park City for approximately two years. Lewis, who lives in Old Town, is an event organizer who has worked with well-known Park City nonprofits. He has lived in Park City for 18 years.
Fairbanks III drew 167 votes in the initial tally while Lewis received 165 votes. With approximately 220 outstanding ballots, the margin between the two could swing wildly. It seems unlikely, though, either of them will move into fifth place as a result of the canvass. They each trailed the fifth-place finisher, Deanna Rhodes, by more than 180 votes.
There is also the possibility either Fairbanks III or Lewis will request a recount once the canvass is completed. They would be allowed to make such a request if the margin between themselves and another candidate is equal to or less than one quarter of 1 percent of the total number of votes. That margin is expected to be a little more than eight or nine votes.
The meeting to certify the election is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building.
The canvass is scheduled less than a week before Labor Day, the traditional start of the Park City campaign season. Either Fairbanks III or Lewis will join the other candidates on the November ballot at the beginning of a crucial stretch of the campaign as Parkites are expected to turn their attention to politics after a primary season that appeared to draw only scattered interest.
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