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Ortiz up by eight in final election tally: Cohen considers asking for recount in race for third Burlingame council seat
November 14, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

After updated Election Day results showed Russ Cohen as the winner of the third and final slot on the Burlingame City Council, the final results have flipped again to show Ricardo Ortiz over Cohen by eight votes.

The San Mateo County Elections Office released updated numbers from the Nov. 5 election 4:30 p.m. yesterday.

Ortiz formerly had 15.6 percent with 1,644 votes and Cohen took 15.5 percent with 1,634 votes, respectively. The vote then flipped when numbers were reported Friday and Cohen led by 17 votes. Tuesday, the count revealed the vote difference had narrowed, with Cohen still on top. Cohen took 1,995 and Ortiz took 1,992 votes, according to Tuesday’s count. Now, according to the final count, Ortiz has 2,048 votes, while Cohen has 2,040 votes. Both have 15.5 percent of the vote. Two other candidates already decisively won. Mayor Ann Keighran got 23 percent of the vote while Councilman Michael Brownrigg took 20.4 percent of the vote.

Cohen said he is disappointed and will likely ask for a recount.

“I think we will do our due diligence most likely and request a recount because it’s less than 10 votes,” he said. “We will see if that changes the outcome at all — I owe that to all our volunteers who worked so hard. I do have to give kudos to Ricardo.”

If Cohen does call for a recount, he would be charged $956 per recount board per day. Before a recount commences, the person requesting the recount will determine how many recount boards are to perform the task each day, what ballots and precincts are to be recounted and if it is by hand, manual, or machine, electronic. The cost to recount by machine is $300 per hour. There may also be administrative costs added for preparing a recount. A manual recount may last five days or more if a full recount is requested, according to San Mateo County Elections Manager David Tom.

Meanwhile, Ortiz, 50, said he’s very, very happy with the latest numbers.

“It’s a slim margin, so I’m hoping after certification it will still stand.”

Meanwhile, another close race, for the third and final slot on the Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District Board of Trustees, seems to be settled with Amy Koo up 95 votes over Herb Neuman after Election Day results had her up 21 votes. Neuman could not be reached for comment, but as of Friday he had yet to concede.

Either candidate would fill the third open seat on the board, as the other two have already been filled by incumbent Charles Velschow and Suvarna Bhopale, who received 22.7 percent and 18 percent of the vote, respectively, according to the latest results released yesterday. Naomi Nishimoto, Rakesh Hegde and Kelly Redmon also ran. Incumbents Andy Stulbarg and Brian Matthews did not seek re-election.

In the Burlingame race, Nirmala Bandrapalli, Steve Duncan, Alexander England Kent, Andrew Peceimer and Robert Schinagl also ran. Incumbent Cathy Baylock opted not to run again. Of the 15,857 people registered to vote in Burlingame, 5,095 cast ballots in the election, meaning voter turnout was around 32.1 percent.

The Elections Office will begin its 1 percent manual tally today in anticipation of certifying the results in early December. The tally confirms that the election was properly conducted. More information can be found at

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: recount, votes, cohen, percent, election,

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