CEDAR PARK, Texas - On Saturday election results rolled in for multiple counties in Central Texas, including Williamson County, but what dozens of people are discussing on social media is the fact one city council race was decided by one vote.
“The disparity in this race right now is slight right with only one vote,” says Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis.
Results showed two of three Cedar Park city council incumbents keeping their seats, but Place Five city councilmember Heather Jefts is keeping her seat by one single vote. She beat out Rodney T. Robinson.
“I'm excited to have been reelected to a second term,” said Jefts. “There are potential ballots, and I'm looking forward to every eligible vote being counted. I'm confident the result will stand and I can get back to work on all the great projects happening in Cedar Park.”
At the end of election night with all precincts voting, Jefts had 2871 votes to Robinson’s 2870.
"With such low turnout it's cliché that every vote counts but it's times like these where I'm sure there have been other entities and other tie votes, candidates and others just wish if there had been one more person voted it could have impacted an outcome,” Davis adds.
Davis says these results won't be official until later on this week as they are processing mail ballots, overseas ballots, provisional ballots and there's a ballot board set for this Friday where they expect a lot of the uncertainty to be resolved.
When asked how likely a recount would happen, Davis says if the race ends up a tie, it’s automatic.
“Well if somehow this finally results in a tie the election code says this needs to be an automatic recount,” Davis said. “We don't even wait for one of the candidates to petition us for a recount."
According to Davis, the last close outcome like this was for a spot in the runoff for the Bartlett ISD trustee race in 2014 with two candidates coming in second place at 133 votes apiece. The 368th District Judge’s race in the Republican primary in 2014 also went to a recount.
As for May 2019, Davis says voter turnout was low this year with only 19,384 voters of the possible 232,000 going to the polls or an 8.34 percent turnout.
Davis says it might be because of voter exhaustion or folks being more in tune with national media and not necessarily local media, which has more information on local campaigns. If there's an actual tie he says there are provisions to resolve it.
"To go to a runoff particularly if both candidates can agree on an alternative and believe it or not that can consist of a coin toss, a roll of a dice, drawing straws,” Davis said.
Davis says there's already a runoff in the city of Hutto on June 8 because none of the three candidates in a particular race were able to get more than 50 percent plus one vote. The Williamson County elections office expects to have final numbers by the end of the day Friday.