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Oates to request recount in Chapel Hill Town Council race

Chapel Hill Town Council candidate Tai Huynh (far right) speaks at the UNC Young Democrats' Local Candidates Panel in Manning Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Also pictured are council candidates Jessica Anderson (far left), Nancy Oates (center left), and Renuka Soll (center right).

Incumbent candidate Nancy Oates said she plans to request a recount in the Chapel Hill Town Council race, which she lost to UNC senior Tai Huynh by 24 votes. 

The Orange County Board of Elections certified the results of the Nov. 5 municipal and school board elections Friday. Rachel Raper, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said turnout for the election was around 18 percent — slightly higher than usual for a municipal election — and there were very few irregularities in the election process.

Seven candidates ran for four seats in the Chapel Hill Town Council race. Incumbents Jessica Anderson and Michael Parker retained their seats while newcomer Amy Ryan won a seat on the council for the first time. 

But the status of the fourth seat was left in question on election night when three candidates were nearly tied at around 13 percent of the vote.

"There is a very tight race between the fourth and fifth place candidates for Chapel Hill Town Council,” said Jamie Cox, chair of the Orange County Board of Election, at the meeting.

As it stands, Tai Huynh is in fourth with 3,960 votes, Oates is in fifth with 3,936 votes and Sue Hunter is in sixth with 3,926. 

Non-prevailing candidates within one percent of a winning candidate may request a recount after the results have been certified. 

After the canvas meeting, Hunter said she had no plans to request a recount. 

“I’m very excited for Tai and I congratulate him on his win," she said.

But Oates felt differently, saying she planned to submit a request Friday.

"While I would like the results of an election to be clear on election night, I think we need to follow the democratic process from start to finish and ensure that everyone feels their vote has been counted,” Oates said.

Raper said at the canvas meeting that a recount would happen next Thursday if a candidate were to request one.


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