Two weeks after the Park City Council primary election, officials have the final vote count for seven candidates vying for three seats on the Park City Council.
Park City Recorder Michelle Kellogg forwarded the official primary results to KPCW just before noon Tuesday. After counting additional mail-in ballots, ballots deposited in official drop boxes and verified provisional ballots, the Summit County Clerk’s Office shows Park City Council candidate Daniel Lewis edged out Chadwick Fairbanks III by two votes, eliminating Fairbanks from the running and reversing the position of the two candidates after the initial vote count on Aug. 13. Kellogg says, though, because the sixth and seventh place results are within the state-outlined margin, Fairbanks could request a recount in the next three days.
Fairbanks told KPCW Tuesday his team has identified what he perceives as three statistical anomalies in the official vote count.
“Final vote counts was 27 more ballots than the county said there would be—where did the extra 27 ballots come from?" Fairbanks said. "Number two, both Daniel Lewis and I picked up a large margin of the few remaining votes that were outstanding—that is also an anomaly. Number three, the percentage of votes tallied for Daniel Lewis did not change on either count, even though his total votes count did change, and that's also a statistical anomaly.”
Speaking to Fairbanks’ first point, Summit County Clerk Kent Jones says the day after the primary, the clerk’s office picked up ballots from drop boxes as well as ballots that arrived in the mail that morning, totaling 223 ballots. By the final canvass, the clerk’s office had counted 250 ballots.
“That's the reason that we wait for the two weeks for the canvass, so that we give every opportunity for those people that are mail-in ballots, whether they're mailing them from out of state or out of country or whatever," Jones said. "As long as they're postmarked the day before Election Day, whether they come in the next day or if they come in three or four days later or even a week later, as long as they qualified, they're going to be added in after.”
As to Fairbanks’ other points, Jones says the clerk’s office runs tests and audits on the voting equipment before and after the elections. He’s completely confident in the results of the software.
“All the audits we've ever done we have not come up with a tabulation error, and we've even done hand counts on the old touchscreen tapes," Jones said. "If ever we come up with a difference in the count, the error was 100%, every time manual—a manual error, not the tabulation equipment.”
Fairbanks says he isn’t asserting there was foul play by the Summit County Clerk or City Recorder but that perhaps the voting software system requires further inspection. He says he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll request a recount, but if he does, he wants it to be done by hand with an observer present.
Lewis says he's not surprised the final vote was so close. As the lowest vote-getting candidate headed to the general election, he says he'll use the attention he's received since the initial primary election results were released to propel his campaign.
"I’m hearing from the community that’s seen me all these years, ‘oh, you are that Daniel Lewis that's running,’” Lewis said. “So, now I have the chance to put my face to the name and which they've seen me in the community doing what I love doing for all these years."
Lewis also says he would welcome a recount, should Fairbanks request one.
The total vote count for each of the seven candidates is as follows:
Current City Councilmember Nann Worel, 1,090 with 27% of the total vote;
Current City Councilmember Becca Gerber, 1,047 with 26% of the vote;
Max Doilney, 620 with 15% of the vote;
Ed Parigian, 460 with 11% of the vote;
Deanna Rhodes, 420 with 10% of the vote;
Daniel Lewis, 193 with 4.8% of the vote;
And Chadwick Fairbanks, 191 with 4.75% of the vote.
Of the 5,873 registered Park City voters who received ballots, 1,693 returned them, for a total of nearly 29% voter turnout.
The Park City Council certified the final tally Tuesday.