The Island County commissioner race will likely require a recount.
If that happens, appointed Commissioner Aubrey Vaughan will get to spend a little extra time on the board.
Rick Hannold, a North Whidbey Republican, still has a lead after the latest count, but Democratic challenger Karla Jacks, a Camano Island resident, closed the gap to 134 votes in Thursday’s count.
Hannold has 14,770 votes and Jacks has 14,636. That’s a difference of just 0.46 percent.
Hannold was ahead by 301 votes on election night and increased his lead to 416 votes on the Wednesday count of ballots.
Michele Reagan, elections supervisor at the county’s Auditor’s Office, explained that the office received ballots from Camano Island last, which gave Jacks a last-minute bump.
“When races are this close, every vote really does count,” she said.
Still, Reagan said the office has counted all but the disputed ballots, so the results aren’t likely to change significantly. The next count is scheduled for Nov. 25, which is the certification date.
Reagan said she has about 160 uncounted ballots that have signature issues. She said those people have been sent letters and she urges them to respond so their votes can be counted.
She said a recount will be necessary if the difference in votes is less than 2,000 and also less than 0.5 percent of the total vote.
At this point, she said it looks like a recount will be needed in the race.
If so, Reagan said the canvassing board will set a date for the recount after the regular certification date. She said the amount of time it will take to do a recount could depend on other races. It currently looks like a state-wide recount will be necessary for Initiative 1351, which concerns K-12 education.
The new commissioner will not take office until after a recount, if necessary.
The winning commissioner candidate gets to take office immediately following certification because the current commissioner was appointed.