On Election Night, challenger Peggy Yoder was sitting in the sixth position by three votes. By the end of the day Wednesday, incumbent David Low was ahead by one vote for the final seat. Now, the latest update shows incumbent Jessica Andrade in that position by a single vote over Low.

The 2022 version of the Philomath City Council election continues to be closer than close. Those counted after Election Day include ballots postmarked by the Nov. 8 deadline and delivered to the county elections office by this past Tuesday. There were also ballots dropped off by 8 p.m. Election Day in another county’s official ballot drop box. Plus, continuing to come in are ballots that are challenged, including those who were contacted about signatures that did not match what the elections office has on file.

James V. Morales, director/county clerk of the Benton County Records and Elections Department, said those votes are counted if the issue involved with the challenged ballot is satisfied by the Nov. 29 resolution period deadline. As such, another vote count update is expected by Nov. 30.

The results are expected to become official on Dec. 2.

However, if the current situation remains, the closeness of the race for the sixth seat would trigger an automatic recount.

As Morales said in a previous story, a recount would be called for in “contests where the difference in votes cast between an apparently elected candidate and the closest apparently defeated candidate is not more than one-fifth of 1 percent for both candidates.”

Based on the calculation, it appears that the recount would occur if the difference between sixth and seventh place is within four votes.

The top four seats are solid for election — Christopher McMorran (1,692, 13.66%), Teresa Nielson (1,592, 12.86%), Matt Lehman (1,511, 12.20%) and Diane Crocker (1,457, 11.77%). Ruth Causey has maintained the fifth position but by a fairly slim margin (1,239, 10.00%). Andrade follows in sixth (1,216, 9.82%) with Low in seventh (1,215, 9.81%), Yoder in eighth (1,201, 9.70%) and Catherine Biscoe in ninth (1,192, 9.63%).

Only 47 votes separate Causey in fifth to Biscoe in ninth. And just 24 votes separate Andrade, Low, Yoder and Biscoe.

As of the last countywide update, 45,463 ballots had been counted out of the 60,863 registered voters — a voter turnout of 74.7%.

The update for mayor, which represents the seventh seat on the City Council, shows incumbent Chas Jones ahead of Lawrence Johnson 1,810 to 617.

A measure to renew the school district’s operating levy for another five years is passing by a 73-27 margin. A measure to place a moratorium on psilocybin manufacturing and service facilities in Philomath is passing by a 52-48 margin with a difference of 103 votes.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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