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Registrar Of Voters To Review Ballots In Tied Chula Vista Race

City Council candidates McCann, Padilla are tied at 18,450 votes

Photo caption: Cars pass under the Third Avenue sign in downtown Chula Vista, Oct. 7, 2014.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Cars pass under the Third Avenue sign in downtown Chula Vista, Oct. 7, 2014.

San Diego County election staff will begin manually counting Chula Vista ballots this week to verify a tie vote between two City Council candidates. Candidates Steve Padilla and John McCann each has 18,450 votes, according to a Thursday night update on the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website.

The registrar of voters has until Dec. 2 to certify the vote tallies for every election in the county. Registrar Michael Vu said he expects election workers to begin reviewing ballots from Chula Vista’s precincts on Monday.

Vu said it is not uncommon for the vote count to change during this process.

"It happens every election," he said.

But Vu said it is rare for the review process to be this potentially decisive. He said the last time an election resulted in a tie was in 2000 for a seat on the Otay Mesa water board.

Both Chula Vista City Council candidates said they knew the race would be close but were surprised by the tie.

McCann said he is optimistic the reconciliation process will go his way.

"We’re still hoping somewhere out there that there’s good number of votes that they didn’t count that will be for us," he said.

Padilla said he’s hopeful a winner will be identified.

“I think the chances that it ends up a flat-footed tie are probably not great.”

McCann and Padilla previously served on the City Council, with Padilla having been the former Chula Vista mayor.

During the review process, Vu said workers are looking to see if ballots were improperly scanned or tallied. For example, a voter could have signed for his or her ballot at the polling location but walked off without dropping it in the ballot box.

"We know that it’s happened in past elections,” Vu said.

If the race is certified in a tie, it could be decided by a coin toss or drawing from a deck of cards. The method will be decided by the Chula Vista City Clerk.

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