On the final day to file a request, Salem City Councilman John Saunders asked for a recount of the Nov. 8 Council election he lost to fellow Councilman Randy Foley by 11 votes.
Saunders filed his petition Monday with the office of Salem Circuit Court Clerk Chance Crawford. It now goes on to a panel of three circuit court judges who will count the votes for all four candidates.
In addition to Saunders, who received 3,386 votes, and Foley, who got 3,397 votes, the others were in the four-way race for two seats were Hunter Holliday, who ran as a Republican and won with 3,809 votes, and Anne Marie Green, who received 3,196 votes.
“I looked at this long and hard,” Saunders said after the Nov. 28 Council meeting. “I was encouraged by an awful lot of people who supported me.” He added, “I will fight for my seat and for Salem.”
Saunders said he was mostly asking for the recount “to support the people who worked for me. I hope everyone realizes how every vote in a local election is important,” he emphasized.
All the candidates except for Holliday ran without party affiliation. While they were talking after Council meeting, Saunders and Foley said they believe future candidates will not be able to win without a party backing.
A total of 12,891 people voted in the Nov. 8 election that included Council and U.S. House candidates. The number of voters was the largest casting ballots since 2000, when there were 14,658. That year, five candidates ran for three seats.
Salem Registrar Dana Oliver said the Salem Electoral Board completed canvassing the Nov. 8 votes just after noon on Nov. 14.
Holliday was in the audience at Monday night’s Council meeting, as he was for the firsts meeting in November.
This is the first time Salem City Council elections have been held in November as part of the general election. Before this, they were in May, with members being sworn in before the July meeting.
Saunders and Foley’s current terms run through Dec. 31.
Salem City Council elections were moved after a change in state election procedures.