Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Sorensen concedes defeat during recount, Weller will assume Ward 2 City Council seat Jan. 1"

I hope Al and Nathan both continue to share with us their visions for Pullman here on Palousitics. From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Pullman City Councilman Al Sorensen conceded defeat in his bid for re-election as Whitman County election officials manually recounted ballots from the November election Wednesday in Colfax.

Sorensen called off the recount as the final ballots were being checked and shook the hand of challenger Nathan Weller, who will assume the Ward 2 seat Jan. 1.

"It was apparent and obvious that the recount wasn't going to change the outcome of the election," Sorensen said.

Weller said he still is surprised by the entire experience.

"I'm just now turning 26. I'm pretty shocked," said Weller, whose birthday is Friday. "But now I'm ready to serve the city of Pullman."

Sorensen called for the manual recount after election results were certified Nov. 27. Weller received 279 votes to Sorensen's 270.

At least a dozen observers watched two pairs of election staff members from the Whitman County auditor's office manually recount the 635 ballots from the seven precincts in Ward 2. The numbers matched during the first pair's round of recounting in four out of seven precincts. Due to the slight discrepancies, the other pair of staff members were brought in to recount the ballots from the three precincts that didn't match up in the first pair's manual recount.

Staff members were busy counting the final batch when Sorensen stood and asked them to stop.

"I ended it on my terms," he said. "I followed the rules of the system and ordered the recount for a number of reasons. My supporters told me I should, and I needed to do it just to make sure the count was done correctly."

Whitman County Elections Technician Karen Bafus said the results will remain as certified because Sorensen stopped the recount. Sorensen technically will serve until Dec. 31, although the council's last meeting of the year has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Sorensen said he doesn't plan to take the issue any further.

"I'm done," he said. "Just to see the (recount) process and go through it was a very educational thing ... It gives me much more appreciation for the auditor's office and how the democratic process works."

Sorensen, who wants to leave the council on a good note, said he will remain an active proponent for citywide street and sidewalk repairs - issues he supported as part of a $2.2 million bond in 2006. He also is open to the possibility of sitting on commissions, or "wherever I can be utilized best. This is a place that I love."

Weller said he wants to remain in communication with Sorensen, and that he would like his predecessor to provide him with some direction in his new role.

"He's very important to this community," Weller said. "If he'll let me, I think it's extremely important to keep him involved."

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