Sandy City refuses to certify election results, asks for recount in mayoral race

Nov 19, 2021, 6:13 PM | Updated: 9:37 pm

SANDY, Utah – The Sandy City Council on Thursday night voted against certifying the results of this month’s election and instead asked for another recount in the mayoral race.

“I don’t believe that a recount was held,” said Councilwoman Marci Houseman, “and this is our election, this is Sandy City’s election.”

Candidate for mayor and Councilwoman Monica Zoltanski has a lead of just 21 votes over Jim Bennett in an election that used ranked-choice voting.

“I feel we’re taking this step for the voters, not in spite of the voters,” said Councilwoman Cyndi Sharkey. “And I don’t think this has anything to do with ranked-choice voting or the integrity of ranked-choice voting, but it’s all about interpretation of a law.”

The Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office confirmed with KSL-TV that, at the request of Sandy City, it conducted a recount of the race on Wednesday. The process involved a re-running of the computer algorithm and the results stayed the same.

During the council meeting, Zoltanski abstained from making the deciding vote to certify herself as mayor-elect.

“I didn’t think, in fairness, I should be making that deciding vote,” she said in an interview with KSL-TV.

Zoltanski said she was surprised by the objections from her fellow council members over the recount, but ultimately voted in favor of requesting another recount.

“I think it’s unfair, not to me, not to Mr. Bennett, but to the voters in this election to create a cloud over the results that we have here tonight before us,” she said during the meeting. “There is nobody who wants finality more than me, but also, I don’t want to start my new term with a question about the legitimacy of this election.”

Zoltanski told KSL that her understanding is that a traditional, hand-recount isn’t an option with ranked-choice voting, which the council opted to use for this election.

“I attended the recount on Wednesday afternoon, so I was very satisfied that it was a re-tabulation of the results,” she said.

While he wasn’t involved in the council’s decision, Bennet said he thinks they made the right choice.

“I think the city council did the right thing,” he said. “I don’t expect a recount to change the results of the election, but I do think it will increase confidence of those results.”

Bennett said he also attended the recount earlier this week and left believing that a hand-recount – where the ballots are actually examined – would increase confidence the most in voters.

“I don’t think anybody is acting in bad faith,” Bennett said. “I don’t think there’s any evidence of fraud.”

The county clerk’s office confirmed with KSL that it has received an official request from Sandy City to conduct another recount. It’s unclear if that request will be granted.

“I do feel confident that I have the votes to sustain the win,” Zoltanski said. “I don’t think that there’s anything that’s going change the outcome of the election.”

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Sandy City refuses to certify election results, asks for recount in mayoral race