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Disputed Votes Could Change 2 Redondo Races

Times Staff Writer

Redondo Beach election officials today plan to count up to 24 ballots that were not included in the vote totals after Tuesday’s election and could change the outcome of the school board contest and a City Council race.

The count will be taken in the city clerk’s office after officials from the county registrar-recorder’s office finish checking the 24 ballots, which were withheld Tuesday night for verification, and determine which of them qualify.

In the council race, District 1 candidate Valerie Dombrowski received 465 votes, or 49.7% of the 936 ballots counted Tuesday night. That is just four votes short of the 50%-plus-1 total she needed to avoid a runoff and be declared the winner.

Dombrowski’s May 16 runoff rival--unless enough votes are added to her column to make her the winner--is Terry Ward, who received 417 votes, or 44.6%.

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Linda Gregory, a deputy city clerk and elections administrator, said Thursday that the 24 uncounted ballots were scattered among the city’s 27 voting precincts and five council districts. Consequently, not all of the ballots that qualify will affect the District 1 race.

In the three-way contest for two seats on the Redondo Beach City School District board, incumbent Rebecca Sargent easily won reelection with 38.1% of the citywide vote. But board President Howard Huizing, who had been unofficially declared the second winner, received only eight votes more than challenger Andrew Deliman.

To reverse that outcome, Deliman would need a net gain of nine votes from the uncounted ballots.

Gregory said most of the ballots were put on a “provisional” status by inspectors at the polling places Tuesday night after questions were raised about their validity. The most frequent reason, she said, was that the voter’s name did not appear on a precinct’s roster of registered voters.

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In many of those cases, she said, the voter may insist that a mistake has been made in the roster. The registrar-recorder’s office then checks the challenged ballots against its list of voters.

Gregory said it is common in elections for a few ballots to be pulled out for verification. They don’t make a difference in the outcome except in close elections.

The 24 votes, even if all are validated and counted, are not enough to change the outcome for council candidate Barbara Doerr, who won the District 1 seat, or for mayoral runoff candidates Brad Parton and Frank Bostrom.

The council is scheduled to review and approve the election outcome Tuesday after the vote canvassing is completed.


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