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Recounts unlikely in most primary races

Published August 15, 2013 12:34 pm

South Salt Lake mayor's race close.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Results in the municipal primary elections held Tuesday won't be finalized for almost two weeks but the odds of any changes in which candidates advance to the general election in Utah's largest cities appear slim.

Under state election law, amended by the Legislature this year, losing candidates can file a request for a recount only if they lose by one-fourth of 1 percent or less of the total number of votes cast in their race.

The nonpartisan primary narrowed the candidate fields for mayoral and city council seats to two in each race. Those finalists will face off in the Nov. 5 general election.

Unofficial results show that the only apparent squeaker in Salt Lake County is the South Salt Lake mayor's race.

Incumbent Cherie Wood was a clear leader with 675 votes out of 1,439 ballots cast. Derk Pehrson followed with 240 votes, while Shane Siwik had 238.

If those numbers hold, Siwik could request a recount.

Cities must conduct a final canvas seven to 14 days after the primary to certify the results. Numbers could change with mail-in ballots but those shifts tend to be small, election officials have said.

Previously, a recount was allowed if the difference amounted to one vote or fewer per precinct. Because of wide differences in the number of precincts in many races, the percentage required to get a new count varied.

A bill passed this year by the Utah Legislature set the .25 percent standard. It also allows a recount if the difference is just one vote in elections where 400 or fewer votes are cast.

pmanson@sltrib.com

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC