Monday, January 30, 2023
Jan. 30, 2023

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Recounts needed in pair of council races

Woodland candidates separated by a solitary vote


A Woodland council race between 70-year-old political newcomers separated by one vote will go to an automatic recount, elections officials said Tuesday. So, too, will a Washougal race where a challenger leads a 19-year council veteran.

Retired real estate broker Scott Perry leads retired businessman Robert Ripp, 569-568, in their quest to replace outgoing Woodland councilman Darwin Rounds. In Washougal, Caryn Plinski, a stay-at-home mother of three, is ahead of councilman Rodney Morris by eight votes, 1,499 to 1,491.

Election results were certified Tuesday in Clark and Cowlitz counties. The Woodland council race between Perry and Ripp included votes from both counties, though the majority came from Cowlitz.

Automatic recounts take place at the local level when the candidates are separated by a quarter of a percentage point or less and 150 votes or less, and are financed by the city where the election was held, Clark County elections coordinator Tim Likness said.

Candidates who do not qualify for an automatic recount can request one within three working days after the results become certified. In such an event, they must deposit 25 cents per ballot cast and only get their money back if the recount results in an outcome change.

No candidates have requested a recount in this year’s races, Likness said.

Washougal council

Clark County will do a manual recount for both races Monday afternoon. The Washougal recount could extend into Tuesday morning, Likness noted. He expected the results to be certified Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The Washougal recount will not include 13 outstanding challenged votes that lacked a signature or had signatures that did not match, Likness added.

Neither Plinski nor Morris returned a phone call Tuesday afternoon seeking comment for this story.

Contrary to this year’s manual recount, Clark County performed a machine recount in 2008’s Clark County Com

missioner’s race between Tom Mielke and Pam Brokaw. The margin of Mielke’s lead entering the recount (207 votes) did not necessitate a manual recount, Likness explained.

Cowlitz County has 1,108 votes to count in the Woodland council race; Clark County only has 29. Ripp led in Cowlitz County, 558-550, while Perry held a 19-10 lead in Clark County. There were five rejected votes in Cowlitz due to signature-related issues, said elections supervisor Carolyn Myers.

Cowlitz County’s recount will take place Monday and Tuesday. The election results will be certified Tuesday, Myers said.

Should either recount end in a tie, a coin flip would determine the winner, in accordance with state law. The last time Cowlitz County had a race go to a coin flip was in 2001, Myers said.

Perry is not stressing over his precarious one-vote lead.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “What will be will be. We’ve been close now for two weeks.”

Perry added minutes later: “If he happened to win, I wouldn’t feel terrible. That budget is not going to be fun to work on.”

Ripp, the founder of a fabrication and heavy equipment company, received 55 percent of the primary vote; Perry received just 33 percent.

“I kind of blame myself for not knocking on doors,” Ripp said, when asked how he felt about being a vote down.

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517;;;