Results for the Nov. 2 general election were certified Tuesday, setting the stage for manual recounts for the Vancouver City Council Position 1 and Hockinson School District Director 1 races to begin.
In a statement Wednesday, Auditor Greg Kimsey said the Clark County Canvassing Board authorized mandatory manual recounts for the two races Tuesday.
Kim Harless held on to her lead over challenger John Blom by 55 votes in the race for Vancouver City Council. In the certified results, Harless had 16,844 votes to Blom’s 16,789 votes, a difference of 0.16 percent.
The city council race has had its ups and downs. Blom started out ahead by 449 votes on election night but saw that lead slip away within a few days.
In the Hockinson school board race, challenger Teresa VanNatta received 1,600 votes in her bid for the seat. Incumbent Tim Hawkins received 1,589 votes, a difference of 0.34 percent.
Until the recount is complete, the candidates must wait for elections staff to finish their work.
“I’m just trying not to dwell,” Blom said. “At times it’s difficult, but I’m trying my best to stay active and distracted.”
Now that Blom’s post-election time chasing ballots and reaching out to voters is over, he has time to focus on other things. Blom said he’s going to spend his extra hours concentrating on his career and family.
Harless recalled the weeks following the general election as she watched her name move into the lead. It was “definitely unexpected” how quickly things moved in that direction, she said, adding it’s difficult to prepare for the council position when the results aren’t official.
Like Blom, Harless spent the days until election results were certified talking to voters to ensure their ballots were included in the results.
Regardless of what the recounts show, Harless said she will continue to connect with people and nonprofits outside of politics. Harless’ optimism for Vancouver’s future remains steadfast, as she believes her grassroots campaign altered how people view their own community involvement.
“It’s great to listen, but we need to have lived experiences in positions of power,” she said. “If I encouraged one more person to run, despite their age or background, I consider that a win.”
The recount process begins at 9 a.m. Monday with the unsealing of boxes containing the ballots. The more than 113,500 ballots, or 34.98 percent of eligible voters, received in the general election will be sorted by precinct and then ballots for the two races are separated and compiled. The sorting should take around a week to complete.
Once the sorting is done, the manual recount begins at 9 a.m. on Dec. 6, unless the sorting process has not been completed. In that case, the manual recount would begin the next business day after the sorting is finished.
The manual recount will be held in the Clark County Elections Department at 1408 Franklin St. in Vancouver. Anyone interested in witnessing the recount may do so subject to reasonable and equitable guidelines adopted by the canvassing board. Masks are required.
For full election results, go to https://clark.wa.gov/elections.