After tallying about a third of ballots with no change in the results, recount proponents have ended the effort.
Only 36 votes separated the two candidates running for the District 3 Newport Beach City Council seat in the results certified by Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley on Dec. 1.
The certified results show incumbent and 2018 mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and challenger Tim Stoaks both with 50 percent of the votes. Duffield received 18,458 votes, while Stoaks tallied 18,422.
A recount was requested by residents Tim Stephens, Laurie Preedge and Susan Skinner requested the recount on Dec. 5. But they “ultimately made no real headway in the ballot count,” Skinner explained in an email Monday.
“At the end of the day, there is no meaningful path to victory after today’s session,” she wrote Monday. “Our Registrar of Voters really did an excellent job in managing this election and even with this slimmest of margins, we are not finding errors sufficient to make a change in the outcome of this race.”
In an email Wednesday, Kelley explained that his staff recounted, by hand, about one-third of the ballots with “no change to the recount tally as compared to the original and final tally.”
Kelley confirmed that 27 actual physical ballots were challenged and about 40 provisional envelopes (although they ultimately chose not to pursue review of the challenged provisional envelopes).
The challenges came from both candidate teams, about 40 percent from Duffield’s side and 60 percent from Stoaks’ side, Kelley noted.
The total cost for the recount was $19,408.32, Kelley noted. Funds were raised by recount supporters before and during the process.
Duffield did not respond to a request for comment by print time, but on social media wrote that his “36-vote landslide victory will stand.”
“Recount proponents have terminated the pointless recount,” Duffield wrote.
Kelley noted that both sides were professional throughout the process, which is not always the case with a recount, he added.
In a statement Monday, Stoaks thanked his supporters and emphasized moving forward.
“It’s now time to move on and enjoy the holidays,” Stoaks said. “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”