It already ranked as the closest and most expensive municipal campaign in Henderson history, and it isn’t over yet. Mayoral candidate Steve Kirk has requested a recount of his 45-vote loss to fellow City Councilman Andy Hafen.
Kirk’s daughter delivered his written request to Henderson City Clerk Monica Simmons this afternoon.
The recount is set to take place at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Clark County Election Center in North Las Vegas. Hafen is scheduled to be sworn in as mayor a few hours later at the start of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Simmons said she hopes the recount can be finished in about three hours. She does not expect the election result to change.
“I trust the process,” Simmons said. “Obviously the candidates need to have confidence in the (election) process as well. There’s a recount process in place for these reasons.”
Kirk and Hafen spent more than $770,000 combined in the contest to replace term-limited Mayor Jim Gibson.
Clark County Register of Voters Larry Lomax said the recount would cost Kirk about $1,600, which is twice as much as Las Vegas City Council candidate Glenn Trowbridge will be charged for the one he requested this morning.
“We basically go by the number of precincts. It costs about $200 a precinct is what it comes down to,” Lomax said.
The recount will start with a hand count of the ballots cast in eight precincts of Kirk’s choosing. If that count results in a difference of five votes or more for either candidate, all of the ballots cast in the election will be counted again by hand.
Simmons said Kirk has asked for the recount to be limited only to mail-in ballots cast in the eight precincts he picked.
Lomax said Trowbridge made a similar request for his recount.
Since mail ballots are the only ones not cast using electronic voting machines, they represent the greatest chance for error. But Lomax said finding even five miscounted votes in either Henderson or Las Vegas “would cause me to absolutely fall out of my chair.”
Kirk and Hafen are both longtime members of the Henderson City Council.
The last recount conducted by Lomax’s office also involved Hafen, who won his sixth council term by 169 votes in 2007. His opponent, Thomas Wagner, challenged the results, but the recount failed to find even a single vote out of place.
Kirk has two years left on his current City Council term, but term limits will prevent him from seeking re-election.
Hafen also has two years remaining on his term as councilman. Assuming the election results stand and he is sworn in as mayor on Tuesday, his vacant Ward 2 council seat will be filled through an appointment process or a special election.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350.