The results have been finalized in the race for Chapel Hill Town Council after a recount was completed on Thursday. UNC senior Tai Huynh has officially taken incumbent Nancy Oates' seat.
Seven candidates ran for four seats in the Nov. 5 election. Election night results showed incumbents Jessica Anderson and Michael Parker holding onto their seats and newcomer Amy Ryan joining the Council. But the race was tight for the fourth spot between incumbent Nancy Oates and challengers Sue Hunter and Tai Huynh.
On election night, the totals showed Huynh ahead with 3,960 votes, followed by Oates with 3,936 and Hunter with 3,926.
Per Orange County election law, non-prevailing candidates within one percent may request a recount after results are certified at the Board of Elections’ canvas meeting.
After the canvas last Friday, Oates requested that the Orange and Durham Counties election boards conduct a recount of the Chapel Hill Town Council race. The boards ran all ballots from Chapel Hill precincts through a DS850 ballot tabulation machine, followed by a hand-to-eye recount of two randomly selected precincts, which is typical of the recount process in Orange County.
Tai Huynh attended the recount at the Orange County Board of Elections office in Hillsborough on Thursday.
“I was very grateful and appreciative of their professionalism and the systematic way they went about it,” he said. “They just really made sure that everything was done by the book. It showed that there is a very robust process and they take it very seriously because it is the backbone of our democracy."
But he said he's glad to see that the recount process is coming to a close.
“We were optimistic that the results would hold going in and we’re grateful to see that so far they have," he said. "We’re just looking forward to the results being finalized and to serving our community on council.”
After both counties conducted their recounts, the change was not enough to make up the 24-vote gap.
“It was amazingly accurate, and even though I was hoping for a different outcome, I was also reassured that all ballots were counted in Orange County and Durham County — that they were counted and counted correctly,” Oates said.
Oates' term on the Town Council will end on Dec. 4.
When asked if voters would see her name on the ballot again in the future, Oates said it’s too early to tell.
“We’ll see what happens,” she said.
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