Provisional ballots decide New Port Richey election
NEW PORT RICHEY -
A tight city council election that appeared headed for a recount was decided after the supervisor of elections office opened three provisional ballots that helped swing the outcome.
As a result, Chopper Davis edged out Rose Mohr by 10 votes – 296 to 286 -- in the Tuesday New Port Richey City Council race.
“Provisionals do matter,” said Brian Corley, Pasco’s supervisor of elections.
Voters were choosing two city council members from a ballot with seven candidates. Jeff Starkey easily took one seat, garnering 415 votes.
Davis led Mohr by nine votes for the second seat, a .46 percent margin that would have resulted in an automatic recount. Normally, the provisional ballots would not be opened until Friday when the canvassing board certifies election results, but the decision was made to count them Tuesday night because a recount hinged on the results, Corley said.
After the provisional ballots were counted, Davis increased his lead to 10 votes and a .51 percent margin that was just beyond the .50 difference that triggers the automatic recount.
Voters cast provisional ballots when there is some question about their voting status. Their votes are counted later after the supervisor of elections confirms they were legitimate voters.
In this case, Corley said, two of the voters didn’t have identification and one had moved to New Port Richey just recently. Corley was able to verify Tuesday night that all three were valid votes.