The month long Hermosa Beach election has finally come to a close after recount efforts were put to a halt Tuesday evening.
“Hardly a whisper of a difference emerged in the final totals, and nothing that would come close to changing the outcome” local activist Dency Nelson wrote in an email. “Not a single ballot needed to be challenged, the marks were pristine clear, and the very few over-voted ballots caught in this manual recount had also apparently been tossed out by the machines, as the final numbers were so spot on the same.”
Incumbent Jeff Duclos’ supporters initiated a recount that began on Tuesday because of the razor thin margin of votes that in the final hours ousted Duclos and put newcomers Carolyn Petty and Hany Fangary, along with Nanette Barragan on the council.
“I’m glad it happened – it was important it happened,” said Duclos. “I think it wasn’t really about chasing a few votes here and there, it had to do with the integrity of the process and sort of this anomaly that is this election was.”
In early counts, Duclos finished in second place for one of three open council seats. After provisional ballots were counted he fell to fourth. By the final count, Fangary hung onto the third open council position by just seven votes.
“I’m excited,” said Fangary. “I want to thank Duclos for all the services he provided to the city, I’m sorry that he did not get reelected and is not able to serve again, but I am excited that the recount is over and I’m looking forward to serving the people of Hermosa Beach.”
The recount at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder County Clerk’s Office lasted one day of an expected three. It was suspended Tuesday after three of the five precincts were recounted – over 60 percent of the total ballots cast – and only a net change of one vote was recorded. According to Duclos’ campaign manager Larry Fox, who was involved in the recount, the process ended up costing $5,441.78. If the recount changed the results, the money would have been refunded. But since nothing changed, money was not returned.
“We can all say with great confidence the LA Registrar has done a great job of protecting the integrity of the votes cast,” said Fox.
“I’m hugely grateful to the members of the community that stepped up and dug into their pockets and paid for this thing – that speaks to the importance of protecting process as opposed to outcome. That’s what this is about for me,” Duclos said. “There’s obviously a great disappointment in the outcome, and it hurts to lose when you’ve put so much into the job. But from that standpoint, for me it at least ended on a hopeful note in terms of this is not going to happen again. There are too many import decisions we have to make very shortly and the process has to be beyond reproach and manipulation of votes cannot be allowed to stand.” ER
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