With a margin of 12 votes behind Sanchez, Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks officially requested a recount of the Nov. 5 municipal election last Thursday, according to the Desert Hot Springs city clerk’s office.
However, after the recount kicked off Thursday morning, the Riverside County Registrar’s Office reported no significant change in the vote tally as the day progressed.
“There was no significant change” to the vote tally, said Kari Verjil, Riverside County Registrar, adding that each candidate picked up one vote and/or matched another through out the recount effort.
While some Parks supporters have suggested voter fraud may have taken place, Desert Hot Springs Deputy City Clerk Jerryl Soriano said last week that Parks made no accusations in her recount request.
Before the recount began, the election results showed Sanchez with 1,042 votes, or 43.2 percent, to Parks’ 1,030 votes, or 42.7 percent. Economist John-Paul Valdez received 340 votes in the Nov. 5 election.
By 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Verjil said the two precincts with the largest number of ballots cast had been recounted and both Parks and Sanchez had gained one vote each. These two precincts represent the largest block of both registered voters (7236) and ballots cast (1899).
Verjil said Sanchez will remain as the official certified winner in the race.
According to Desert Hot Springs municipal code, a council seat vacated within 90 days of an election is filled by the person who received the next highest amount of votes. This means with Sanchez’s victory standing, his council position will be filled by Councilwoman Jan Pye, who lost her seat to challenger Joe McKee in the election.
Erica Felci contributed to this report.
Reza Gostar can be reached at (760) 778-4586, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @TDSRezaGostar on Twitter.