Historic City News was predicting the closest race of the evening last night based on exit polling and feedback from our local readers, and, sure enough when the results in the District 3 race for St Johns County Commission came in, local businessman Paul Waldron was ahead of former Assistant County Administrator Jerry Cameron by only nine votes.
When any contest is closer than .5% Florida Statutes automatically call for a “machine recount” — if the results are closer than .25% then a “hand recount” is required.
About an hour before the polls closed at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night, Cameron spoke on the live Election Night program with Historic City News editor Michael Gold and WSOS 103.9 FM station owner Kevin Geddings, still reaching out to last minute voters and still optimistic about his chances for an election night victory.
Waldron, his family and supporters, were gathering at the St Augustine Shrine Club to watch the figures as they came in, while Cameron was on his way to a party on his behalf at the St Augustine Distillery.
At the end of the evening, Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes reported that out of 28,482 total ballots cast in this race, there were 4 “over-votes” which occurs when a voter selects more than one candidate in a single race. However, there were 3,551 “under-votes” which occurs when a voter simply does not vote at all in an individual race.
There are two “provisional” ballots, one of which is a Republican ballot that could effect this race, and four “uncounted” ballots, where the electronic scanner could not read the paper ballot.
While paper documents are organized today in preparation for tomorrow’s recount, the process that will be used is already established and systematically carried out.
The St Johns County Canvassing Board, made up of the Supervisor of Elections, County Court Judge Charles Tinlin, and local attorney Ronald W. Brown, will inspect all Republican ballots that are not able to be read by the machine. If a determination can be made as to the intent of the voter in this race, the ballot will be added to the selected candidate. If not, the ballot does not count
If there are any votes to be found, Oakes explained that they will come from those over and under-votes where the machine could not definitively read the readers selection.
Tentatively, the recount will occur tomorrow morning with the exact time to be announced later today. The recount is only for the County Commission Seat 3 race, and the process may be observed by the public. When the Board concludes the recount tomorrow, the winner in the race will be known.