The City Court judge race won’t have a winner for more than a week, although Jeffrey Wait’s lead appeared to grow Wednesday.
The county Board of Elections will begin counting absentee ballots Nov. 13.
On Wednesday, the elections board compared the call-in sheet from the night before with paper from the ballot machines and determined that Wait’s lead unofficially is 242 votes ahead of Matthew Dorsey, not 108 as the board thought late Tuesday.
Some numbers were transposed in the original count, leading officials to believe the margin was smaller, Republican commissioner Diane Wade said.
“It’s a long day, and things happen,” Republican Commissioner Diane Wade said of the errors.
Unofficially, Wait had 5,829 votes to Dorsey’s 5,587, Wade said.
Although the new count widens Wait’s lead, neither candidate was ready to call the race on Wednesday, since more than 1,100 absentee ballots still need to be counted.
“It is statistically possible for him to catch up and get really, really close,” Wait said Wednesday. But Wait seemed confident he’ll come out ahead.
“We have a good historical basis for guessing what the result is going to be,” he said, noting that usually, a candidate will hold his or her lead even after absentee ballots are counted.
But Dorsey said he won’t concede yet.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said Wednesday.
Past city races with slim margins include the mayoral races between Ken Klotz and Michael Lenz, and between Lenz and Valerie Keehn. Both had a narrower difference than the judge race, and neither were thrown by absentee ballots.
This year, the county mailed out 1,426 absentee ballots in the city and had received 1,164 back by Election Day, with more expected to come in before Tuesday’s deadline, Wade said.
More than 160 city voters cast an affidavit ballot, and those have to be researched next week to determine whether the voters were legally allowed to vote or not, Wade said.
On Friday, the county will conduct its recount of the voting machines. “That’s where we actually reread the printer packs against the statement of canvass to make sure nothing was transposed.”
Results become official after everything is counted again and double-checked, and must be certified by early December, Wade said.