By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A recount today in the Ward 2 race that was decided by only six votes in Tuesday's Havre City Council election confirmed that Republican Terry Schend defeated Democrat Gary LaValley by a vote of 211-205.
After the recount, Schend said he had been confident the count would remain in his favor.
"I just didn't believe there would be that much of an error," he said.
"I look forward to serving the people of Ward 2," he added.
The Ward 2 race between LaValley and Schend was the closest of the five City Council races in Tuesday's elections. A canvass Thursday of the unofficial results again put the total at 211-205, In races decided by a margin of fewer than 10 votes or 0.25 percent, whichever is greater, state law gives candidates the right to request a recount free of charge.
A canvass makes sure that the vote totals for each candidate at each polling places on election night are the same as the numbers written down at the Hill County Courthouse by the Clerk and Recorder's Office. Ballots themselves are not recounted in a canvass.
LaValley had five days after the canvass to request a recount in writing. He made his request on Friday afternoon after speaking with Hill County election officials.
"They were going to do Hingham's (election) anyway, so I thought, 'Well, we could do it at the same time and clear the air. It's that simple,'" LaValley said today before the recount.
In the Hingham general election, Wayland Walls won 42 votes in the election to clinch one of two open seats on the Town Council. The two other candidates - incumbents Larry Horinek and Robert Spicher, tied with 37 votes each.
A recount today confirmed the tie. The Hingham Town Council will appoint one of the two to a two-year term.
The recounts began shortly after 9 a.m. today, said Hill County deputy election administrator Betty Williams. The three Hill County commissioners, Hill County Clerk and Recorder Diane Mellem and Williams counted the votes.
The count for the Havre race is final, Williams said.
With the results of the election now final, the Havre City Council will have two new faces in January - Schend in Ward 2 and Democrat Pam Hillery in Ward 1. Democrats will remain in control of the council by the same margin it has now, holding seven of the eight seats.