Recount: Schorr wins seat by 4 votes

Schorr collects 2,879 votes in School Board race

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2003

The city's recount of ballots for the Juneau School Board on Wednesday gave Alan Schorr a four-vote winning margin over Bill Peters. The city clerk's office certified the results in the late afternoon.

Schorr had a one-vote margin after the official results of the Oct. 7 city election were first certified on Oct. 14. But some voters requested a recount.

Schorr finished with 2,879 votes to Peters' 2,875.

Juneau-Douglas High School science teacher Clay Good, one of the citizens who petitioned for the recount, said late Wednesday, "If two variable counts place one person as the winner, that's good enough for me."

The recount counted four more ballots than before, for a total of 9,637. Acting City Clerk Beth McEwen said the recount found one "special needs" ballot, for a person who needed help voting, which hadn't been counted before.

The other additional ballots presumably were ballots that should have been counted by the Accu-Vote machines but had been rejected, for reasons such as a torn corner, she said.

The machines optically scan the ballots, tabulating voters' pencil marks placed in ovals next to candidates' names.

The recount was done on three machines and took most of Wednesday. Write-in votes were the only ones counted by hand. McEwen said late Wednesday she hadn't calculated the recount's cost.

Schorr, reached after the recount, thanked the election workers and Peters, who had declined to ask for a recount.

"I would just like to thank Bill Peters for being gracious and financially frugal and not wasting money on the recount," Schorr said.

Peters could not be reached immediately for comment.

Schorr, who has been on the School Board since 1991, will serve just one year in his new term. School Board members don't run for particular seats. As the fifth-highest vote-getter for five open seats, he will complete the term of a member who resigned.

The top three vote-getters, Andi Story, Phyllis Carlson and Julie Morris, won full three-year terms. The fourth-highest vote-getter, Rhonda Befort, won a two-year term to complete the term of a member who resigned. They began their terms Tuesday.

Good, one of the petitioners for a recount, pointed out that the differing results of the two counts raise a larger question of the accuracy of the counting system.

City Clerk Laurie Sica had said the recount would be conducted by machine, not by hand, because the machine-count is more accurate and less expensive.

The recount, which was only of the 12 School Board candidates, produced different results for all of them. Some of the differences were so large that they couldn't be accounted for solely by adding in four previously uncounted ballots.

Carlson's votes rose by five, to 4,549. Story's votes rose by 11, to 5,483. Befort gained nine votes, for 3,357 in all. Lee Kadinger's votes went up by five, to 1,346.

Morris' votes went up by four, to 3,368. Megan Mayron's votes declined by two, to 1,880. Dave Williams lost three votes, for 2,426 in all. Sam Guthrie gained two votes, for a total of 2,164.

Chuck Cohen's votes rose by two, to 2,556. Bill Burk added two votes, for 1,056 in all.

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