The Ada County Elections Office will partially recount ballots in the Meridian City Council Seat 6 election on Friday.
Incumbent Luke Cavener won the race by 56 votes over Mike Hon. Scott Garbarino also filed to run but decided not to campaign and instead support Hon; Garbarino still received votes. Hon requested a recount of precincts 1418, 1420 and 2003.
The official tally was Cavener with 6,380 votes, Hon with 6,324 and Garbarino with 785.
“We will work with the Attorney General’s Office and the candidates to ensure the process is transparent and that everyone can have confidence in the results,” Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said in a news release.
McGrane earlier this month asked Secretary of State Lawerence Denney for advice on a ballot rotation error in the seat 6 election. The ballots were set to rotate as if there were only two candidates in the race, so Hon’s name was never listed first on the absentee ballots.
Ballots are rotated to prevent “ballot order effect,” which is when voters don’t know the candidates and may choose based on which name is listed first.
All Election Day ballots were reprinted, at a cost of around $15,000, the Idaho Press previously reported.
In a response dated Nov. 15, Deputy Secretary of State Jason Hancock said he had reviewed the situation and rejected McGrane’s suggestion of District Court review.
The letter recommended McGrane gather “full documentation of the error” and the amount of ballots impacted, and add the information as an addendum to the election canvass. Hancock also wrote McGrane may wish to bring an election contest himself. The candidate could also go to court.
The race was an unusually contentious one. ConservativesOf: Meridian, a local sect of an Eagle-based super PAC supported a slate of challengers in seats 2, 4 and 6. ConservativesOf: Meridian and the candidates took issue with high-density housing and a non-discrimination ordinance passed in 2018.
All three challengers lost.
The public can watch the recount at adacounty.id.gov by clicking on the “cameras” tab under the “candidates” drop-down menu, or from the observation room at the Ada County Elections Office.