County auditors race not quite over

Summit County Auditor-elect Michael Howard won a narrow victory against his challenger during last week’s elections. So narrow, that the additional ballots the county has yet to receive from provisional or absentee ballots, could sway the results.

His opponent, Gary Shumway, said on Tuesday, although he is doubtful the outcome will change, he is not yet ready to concede.

"Will they skew the results? It’s unlikely," he said. "It’s difficult to know if they will follow the trend but I think the numbers will stay roughly the same and I think I will still be down.

"But it’s not a done deal until it’s over," he added. "If they don’t follow the general election there is a much better chance and you don’t know how they will turn out."

As of Election Day, Howard, a Democrat, had defeated Republican challenger Shumway by only 43 votes. Howard received 5,114 to Shumway’s 5,071.

"Whew, that was a close one," Howard said. "I figured it would be close, but I didn’t think it would be as close as it was."

Roughly, an additional 540 ballots, about 303 absentee and 238 provisional, could still qualify for the Nov. 18 county canvass.

On Tuesday, Howard told The Park Record he is not yet at the point where he can breathe easy.

"I’m just waiting and optimistic," Howard said. "In the end, I’ll abide by the wishes of the voters. If it turns out my opponent gets more, I’ll accept the will of the people. If it goes my way, I’ll proceed forward."

Summit County Clerk Kent Jones said, as of Monday afternoon only about 30 absentee ballots were returned and more could still come in. Any absentee ballots the county receives must be postmarked prior to Nov. 4 to qualify.

"The logic of it changing is pretty slim," Jones said. "In my experience, I have never seen it change. But that is not saying it isn’t a possibility."

The final results won’t be official until the county canvass at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at the County Courthouse in Coalville.

After how close the race was, Shumway said he was disappointed.

"I think we did everything we could do," he said. "I mean is any loss any less heartbreaking the closer the race is?"

But even with less than a 50-vote margin, Shumway said he isn’t too optimistic the results will change in his favor.

"It was a very close race and I am just thankful for the votes and support," he said. "Obviously I had the support of half the county and I appreciative everyone who did vote for me and for everyone who got out and voted."

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