Heidi Franco takes lead in Heber City mayoral race
After a long night of city and county staff counting ballots, Councilwoman Heidi Franco emerged with a slight lead in the race for mayor.
She finished the night with 1,664 votes to incumbent Mayor Kelleen Potter’s 1,598. According to Wasatch County Clerk Joey Granger, there are 44 provisional ballots that haven’t been counted, and some mailed ballots postmarked by Monday are expected to arrive in the coming days.
“I’m really humbled,” Franco said after the release of preliminary results. “I’m so thankful for the support of the people. I know it’s a close race, and let’s see how that resolves itself when more ballots come in. I especially want to thank the people who helped me on my campaign, who contributed and put up the signs, who helped me in so many ways. I’m really committed to hitting those issues hard and strong and helping to protect the quality of life in our city.”
Results are unofficial until after a canvassing process certifies them. Granger said that’ll take place within about two weeks.
Franco is wrapping up her second consecutive term on city council. Potter was elected to Heber City Council in 2013, then defeated Alan McDonald to take over as mayor in 2017.
Tuesday’s count included ballots the county clerk’s office had received by 8 p.m. Out of 8,201 eligible voters in Heber City, 3,262, or 40%, had their votes in the mayoral election counted by then.
The tabulation finished around 11 p.m. Because vote-counters had to interpret about 400 ballots one by one, results for all elections in Wasatch County came in about two hours later than Granger originally expected.
She explained most of the problems were in the city council section of the ballot. In that election, voters followed a ranked choice voting system for the first time, which involved a more complicated process of selecting multiple candidates in order of preference.
Granger said the county will publish more results as ballots continue to arrive in the days to come.