Two candidates who narrowly lost city council races in Las Cruces last week are asking for a recount of about 90 percent of the votes cast in the election.
District 1’s Kasandra Gandara and District 4’s Jack Eakman will still be sworn in as new city councilors on Monday, the City Clerk’s Office said. A recount of votes that’s being paid for by Eli Guzman, who lost to Gandara by 18 votes, and Richard Hall, who lost to Eakman by 11 votes, is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday.
“With the difference in votes being so slim, the candidates have chosen to exercise their right to apply for a recount,” said Jeffrey Isbell, a local political operative who is acting as a spokesman for both candidates.
If the results change after Monday, the law dictates that a candidate who has already been sworn in will have to vacate the seat, according to Isbell.
Guzman and Hall filed the paperwork for a recount Tuesday. They’re asking to recheck all early and absentee votes and ballots cast at five polling places, a news release from the city states.
New Mexico election law allows candidates in municipal elections to request a recount as long as they’re willing to pay for it. The cost isn’t clear.
Hall and Guzman will raise money “to cover the costs and legal expenses related to the recount,” Isbell said.
“I anticipate a smooth process with the city, but have volunteered to help the candidates with anything they may need during this process,” Isbell said. “The candidates may also seek legal counsel if the need arises.”
Isbell said Guzman and Hall are “going to let the process play out.”
“If the results are overturned, it will further prove the importance of every vote,” Isbell said. “If the results remain the same, it will prove the quality of work from the City Clerk’s Office.”
“The candidates will accept the outcome regardless of what it is, but they feel the people deserve to have any doubts removed,” he said.