It took her awhile, but Democrat Janie Ward-Engelking has finally requested a recount for the Nov. 2 general election contest she lost by nine votes. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has facilitated the request and ordered the recount process take place Thursday in Boise.
Engelking was bested by Republican Julie Ellsworth by a count of 6,429 to 6,420.
State law allows the process at no cost to the loser if the margin was within .1 percent, or one vote for every thousand cast. With more than 12,000 votes tallied in the race, the Engelking gap of nine votes met that threshold.
Engelking was nearing the deadline for requesting the recount when her attorney submitted the call for the process to Wasdens’s office Dec. 1. State law requires applications for recount to be made within 20 calendar days of election results being made official. The Idaho Board of Canvassers, which oversees certification of election results, met Nov. 17 to make official returns from polling stations across the state. Engelking had until Dec. 7 to do so to formally submit her request.
The second tabulation of votes will commence at 8 a.m. on Thursday in the Ada County Elections Office. Engelking’s lawyer, Christopher Bray, along with Kootenai County elections chief Dan English, will monitor the process. It is unknown who Ellsworth has selected to represent her at the recount.
Bray says that English will attend the recount to ensure that vote-counting methods are fair and accurate. “He is our individual expert witness,” said Bray Monday. “We wanted someone who knows how election systems work.”
English, who lives in north Idaho, is traveling to Boise at the expense of Engelking and not taxpayers. Bray said that while he is in Ada County, English is a private citizen and nothing more. “He’s a private expert,” explained Bray. “He’s not working in any official capacity.”
The same day Engelking’s attorney made the request, Ellsworth was busy with new legislator orientation at the Idaho Capitol. Ellsworth was also given committee assignments last week. She will sit on the Judiciary, Rules, and Administration, Revenue and Taxation, and Transportation and Defense committees if she survives the recount challenge.