Yuma, Arizona - A state-mandated recount of Yuma’s close election for City Council confirms that Karen Watts has been elected to the third and final seat, the City learned Tuesday.

In fact, the recount tallied votes identically to the original final count.

The margin between Watts and fellow candidate Gregory Counts was only five votes when tallies of the Nov. 7 general election were released. Per Arizona law, that triggered an automatic recount.

The Council canvassed the election Nov. 15 and issued a finding of fact which identified the need for a recount and referred it to the court. The case went to Yuma County Superior Court Judge Larry Kenworthy, who ordered Yuma County’s elections board to conduct the recount.

“The identical vote tally between the final results and the recount instills confidence in both the process and vote count for our local elections,” noted City Administrator Greg Wilkinson. “The other lesson from this is, every vote counts.”

Watts will join Mayor Douglas Nicholls, current Deputy Mayor Gary Knight and Councilmember-elect Leslie McClendon on four-year terms that begin Jan. 1, 2018.

Review of election totals

A total of 7,579 ballots were cast, including:

  • Early ballots.
  • Poll results from all of the 3 voting centers.

Following are the final, unofficial results, in order of votes received.

City Council / Votes Cast / Percentage of Ballots Cast

Knight, Gary  3,669  48%

McClendon, Leslie 3,289  43%

Watts, Karen 3,261  43%

Counts, Gregory  3,256  43%

Rosevear, Ken 3,187  42%

Rojas-McNair, Kristina 2,819  37%

Mayor Douglas Nicholls and Presiding Judge James Coil were both re-elected to four-year terms as a result of the Aug. 29 election, having each exceeded 50 percent of the vote.