A recount of ballots cast for Tehachapi City Council races in Districts 1 and 5 and the at-large seat was halted Monday, and the initial outcome stands.
The recount stemmed from a Dec. 10 request by Pete Graff, who lost his bid for the at-large seat during a contentious election season.
Abbe Shugart, chief deputy registrar of voters at the Kern County Elections Division, wrote in an email at the end of the business day that “the recount was halted prior to being completed and the tallies that were completed — there were no changes.”
She added that the recount was halted by Graff and would not continue Tuesday. Earlier in the day it was possible that the recount would extend beyond Monday.
Reached at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Graff cast the situation differently, saying the count was not halted by himself. He said the counts were completed, and although off by a small number, that he was unwilling to pay for the recount to continue Tuesday.
The Kern County Elections Division is obligated to start a recount if anyone requests it and is willing to pay for it, Shugart said earlier Monday. The estimated cost of the recount is $2,567 per day.
The Kern County Elections division has a specific time allotted to start a recount; it must commence within seven days from when the request was received, Shugart said.
The Elections Division received Graff's request for a recount on Dec. 10. All ballot counts were certified on Dec. 4.
The last time there was a recount of an election in Kern County was in 2014, after the June Primary for the State Controller's race and Mojave Unified School District.
It wasn't clear why Graff asked for a recount in three of the four Tehachapi City Council races.
Earlier in the day, Graff said, "I can’t comment until it's completely done and for future steps or legal proceedings."
He declined to elaborate, but in his letter to the Elections Division, he wrote: "I am requesting a count of signed ledgers, to cross reference against ballots received, particularly ledgers and ballots received from the 1049 S. Curry St. polling station. I am requesting 4 observers, including myself and my attorney."
City clerks can proceed on the date of swearing in new City Council members, Shugart said earlier in the day.
Right before Tehachapi News' print deadline Monday, Michael Davies was sworn in to office for the at-large seat that Graff had sought. In District 1, incumbent Phil Smith was sworn in. In District 5, incumbent Susan Wiggins was sworn in.
Joan Pogon-Cord, who won the District 4 seat — the one in which Graff didn't seek a recount — will be sworn in when she returns from a trip.