FAIRFIELD — Every vote counts. Fairfield’s mayoral race may very well have been decided by one vote, according to the unofficial results released Tuesday night, Dec. 3.
The results show Michael Halley leading the race against Connie Boyer by the slimmest of margins, literally. Halley received 1,048 votes to Boyer’s 1,047. After learning the results, Halley said, “I’m not going to declare victory.”
Jefferson County Elections Clerk Abbie DeKleine reported that 12 absentee ballots are still out. Those are ballots that have been requested but not yet received in the auditor’s office. The ballots can still count if they arrive in the mail by noon on Thursday, Dec. 5. Of those 12, seven are domestic absentee ballots and five are overseas absentee ballots.
The election will be canvassed at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, when the official results will be announced in the Board of Supervisors’ room at the Jefferson County Courthouse. In the event of a tie, the supervisors will draw a name to determine the winner.
Either candidate has the right to request a recount, a request they must file by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. In the event of a recount, a recount board will be called consisting of one representative from each candidate, plus a third member whom the two representatives agree on. The recount board has the ability to review ballots to determine a voter’s intent, perhaps one that was misread by the machine counting it.
Halley said he does not think of himself as the winner because there are still absentee votes to count, and the prospect of a recount.
“We’ll have to wait until Thursday for the official results to see how this shakes out,” he said.
Boyer said she was “speechless” the vote ended up being a virtual tie.
“I’m shocked it could be that close at this point,” she said. “I was looking for a sense of relief tonight.”
Boyer said campaigning for office has proved to be a “good weight-loss program.” She said a lot of friends were at her house the night before making phone calls to remind people of the election and make one last pitch.
“People appreciated the reminders, and it was a great opportunity to talk to people and get ideas,” she said. “This election shows that people care.”
Halley said the month of November was very busy for him, too. He said the extra month of campaigning allowed voters to get to know the remaining candidates better. Halley said he tried to attend as many events as possible to connect with voters.
Halley said the main concerns he heard from voters were the lack of affordable housing in town, worries about job opportunities, and a fear that young people are leaving the area and not coming back.
In the November elections, Halley received 1,055 votes (47.6 percent), while Boyer received 883 votes (39.8 percent) and Ed Noyes received 277 votes (12.5 percent). Because no candidate won a majority of votes, a runoff election was called for the top two vote-getters, Halley and Boyer.
According to the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office, the unofficial results break down as follows:
Boyer — 233
Halley — 158
Halley — 183
Boyer — 152
Boyer — 72
Halley — 51
Halley — 156
Boyer — 128
Boyer — 202
Halley — 97
Halley — 403
Boyer — 260