After election night counting, Democrat Amy Keller thought she had lost her race for a Lebanon City Council seat by 10 votes. On Wednesday morning, Nov. 13, she learned that she was tentatively a winner by three.
Keller, a second-time candidate for public office, was informed on Nov. 11 that a number of paper ballots could not be counted on election night because they had been folded and couldn’t be inserted into scanners. They were counted manually at the Municipal Building on Friday morning, Nov. 8.
The election night totals had Republican Andrew Zidik edging out Keller, 1,301 to 1,291, but the counting of the bent ballots changed the result to Keller at 1,308 votes vs. Zidik at 1,305 votes.
There was a further delay in announcing the result until Wednesday morning, Nov. 13, because a small number of military and overseas ballots were outstanding and subject to a Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. return deadline. There were also a number of provisional and absentee ballots that had to be verified and counted.
In an email to LebTown on Thursday morning, Nov. 14, Lebanon County Director of Elections Michael Anderson said that Zidik has until 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 to file a petition for a recount with the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas. If none is filed, Anderson expects that a Keller victory will be officially certified by the Election Board on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
The Lebanon Daily News reported that, at a contentious meeting yesterday of the Lebanon County Election Board, Lebanon County Republican Committee Chairman Casey Long objected to the board’s refusal to allow Zidik and him to inspect the ballots that couldn’t be counted on election night. According to the LDN, the meeting ended with Long saying there would be a request for a recount.
Later Wednesday evening, Zidik posted a statement on his campaign Facebook page in which he said in part, “At this time I am removing myself from the race. I wanted to become a council member to save tax payers money and help the community. I will not take money from residents [to pay for a recount] with a 50/50 chance of overturning a vote to prove a point.”
After deleting the post and, for a brief time, un-publishing the entire Facebook page, Zidik confirmed his intention to let the results stand in a Facebook message to this reporter on Thursday morning, Nov. 14 at about 8:55 a.m.
In that conversation, Zidik noted that he had been denied a recount and reiterated that he wished not to require any voter to pay money to check ballots that have a 50/50 chance of overturning three ballots.
However, Zidik followed up later Thursday morning in the same Facebook message thread, stating that his previous messages should be disregarded and that he would not be ceding the race at this time.
Emails sent to Long on Thursday morning had not received a response as of the time this article was published.
One other development in the election outcomes since preliminary results were posted last week: Millcreek Township elected a supervisor by way of write-in totals, which had not been tabulated at the time preliminary results were published. According to Anderson, Scott Moyer now leads 325 to Donald Leibig at 278, and as such Moyer is expected to be declared the winner when results are officially certified.