Following a recount of votes, Salina City Commissioner Randall Hardy has retained his seat. Hardy has defeated Joe Hay Jr. by three votes.
After last week’s election, incumbent commissioner Randall Hardy lead Hay for the third and final open commission seat by just a single vote, 2,136 to 2,135.
Saline County Commissioners met Monday morning to finalize the election, which meant looking at a group of provisional ballots to determine if they should be counted. The commission determined that 33 provisional ballots could be counted. After those ballots were counted the race was a tie, 2,141 to 2,141.
A coin toss, won by Hay, broke the tie.
Hardy had the option of asking for a recount. He had until 5:00 Tuesday evening to turn in a letter, asking for a recount. A letter requesting the recount was turned in Monday afternoon.
The recount happened Wednesday morning. It took about an hour and a half.
Merriman told KSAL News that he actually recounted the votes twice. Both times the final results were exactly the same.
Merriman also explained how the final vote tally changed. He said that on election night, as paper ballots started being fed in the machine that counts them, there was a malfunction. The machine was re-calibrated, and sample ballots were then fed into it. After it was determined that everything was working, the machine was set back to zero, and the vote count was restarted. The initial first few ballots that were fed through it were not re-fed, though. “Basically, it was human error”, Merriman concluded.
Hay told KSAL News that he was disappointed, but not discouraged from staying active in the community. “I will be back again”, he vowed.
With Hay’s narrow defeat, Karl Ryan will be the only new face on the Salina City Commission following Monday’s meeting. Mayor Aaron Householter was the lone incumbent not to win reelection.
The new Salina City Commission will consist of Jon Blanchard, Kaye Crawford, Dr. Trent Davis, Karl Ryan, and Randall Hardy.