In an off-year election that garnered the highest turnout since 2005, one Clark County race remained so close Thursday that it will likely trigger an automatic recount, elections officials said.
Also Thursday, Bill Turlay was declared the apparent winner for a seat on the Vancouver City Council.
Just two votes separate Washougal City Councilor Rod Morris and challenger Caryn Plinski in Thursday’s returns. She holds the miniscule lead with 1,474 votes to his 1,472 votes. Should the candidates finish within one-half of 1 percent of each other, an automatic recount would be triggered, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said.
Kimsey said that he called Turlay to tell him he is the apparent winner in his race against Anne McEnerny-Ogle for a spot on the city council, with 51.67 percent of the vote as of Thursday.
The elections office has received a little more than 109,400 ballots, which translates to about 48.3 percent of registered voters, Kimsey said. The turnout was about 5 percent higher than the elections staff predicted in the run-up to Tuesday’s voting.
“We were pleasantly surprised to see that kind of turnout,” Kimsey said.
Off-year elections in 2009 (which included the Vancouver mayor’s race) and 2007 drew 43.5 percent and 43.3 percent turnouts, respectively.
About 1,000 to 1,200 ballots remain to be counted, he said.
All other races have wide enough margins that it would be difficult for the underdog to overcome the margin, including the Battle Ground City Council race where Deputy Mayor Phil Haberthur trails challenger Shane Bowman by 115 votes.
A candidate can also request a recount, even if the contest does not fall in the mandatory recount range of one-half of 1 percent, Clark County Elections Supervisor Tim Likness said.