It's Official: Chula Vista City Council Candidate Wins by 2 Votes - NBC 7 San Diego

It's Official: Chula Vista City Council Candidate Wins by 2 Votes

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    It's Official: Chula Vista City Council Candidate Wins by 2 Votes
    Steve Padilla (left) and John McCann (right)

    It's official: Former Sweetwater Board President John McCann has won a seat on the Chula Vista City Council by two votes.

    The San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu certified the results Tuesday, confirming  McCann's win over former Mayor Steve Padilla, 18,448 votes to 18,446.

    However, Padilla confirmed Tuesday evening he will be asking for a recount. 

    “To ensure that every vote is counted correctly, and to ensure our community can rely on complete and accurate election results, it is time for a recount of the Chula Vista City Council election," said a statement released by his office.

    Chula Vista City Council Race Separated by 2 Votes

    [DGO] Chula Vista City Council Race Separated by 2 Votes
    The neck-and-neck race between John McCann and Steve Padilla for Chula Vista's City Council seat is only separated by two votes. NBC 7's Wendy Fry has news of a recount in the works.
    (Published Friday, Nov. 28, 2014)

    About 37,000 votes were cast in the election, and with such a close margin, Padilla said he wants to make sure every vote is accouted for.

    "Throughout the vote counting process, the percentage of the vote varied widely, with the vote count resulting in a tie at one point and eight votes, a significant number in a race this close, shifting after less than 2,500 ballots were recounted during the Registrar’s reconciliation," said Padilla's statement.

    Vu said his office has not received any official request for a recount as of yet.

    Last week, McCann commented on the possibilty of a recount, saying, "We want to get back to business at the city of Chula Vista as soon as possible, and so it would be a shame that he wouldn't just concede."

    The person who requests the recount must pay the cost, Vu says, which could cost over $40,000. The recount is expected to take more than a week.

    If a new winner emerges as a result of the recount, the registrar's office would pay the recount fees.

    Vu told NBC 7 overturning on an election on a recount is not common, though that assessment is based on races will much larger margins.

    Recount or not, McCann will be sworn into the seat on Dec. 9.

    The last time Chula Vista saw a close race like this was in June 2010, when U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) went up against then-Assemblywoman Mary Salas for the 40th state Senate District. The race did end in a recount, but Salas halted it on the third day, allowing Vargas to win by 22 votes.

    The process to certify an election starts the day after all ballots come in. The county registrar's office goes through all votes, including mail-in and provisional.

    Employees check and verify names and exhaust all measures before not counting a vote, Vu says. After those initial numbers are released, the office goes back and does it again to double-check their work.

    As all this goes on, Vu says they select one percent of all votes and hand-tally them to make sure the results are accurate.