Beto Lopez’s five-vote margin of victory from unofficial election night results April 3 narrowed after a recount was completed Monday, but it didn’t change the outcome of the District 3 race for Lee’s Summit City Council.
Based on the Jackson County Election Board’s recount, Lopez edged incumbent Diane Seif by four votes — 1,105 to 1,101 — so he’s still set to join a remade city council.
“I don’t know that I was nervous necessarily or worried, but the uncertainty creates a little bit of anxiety,” Lopez said. “But I just believed the system and process would work.”
He joins a council that will include Mayor Bill Baird, who replaces term-limited incumbent Randy Rhoads and will have a regular city council vote for the first time in Lee’s Summit history after changes were made last spring to the city’s charter.
Incumbents Diane Forte (District 1) and Trish Carlyle (District 2) were reelected during last week’s general municipal election, while Fred DeMoro (District 4) was held over. DeMoro was appointed last spring after a recall election.
Finally, Bob Johnson (District 4) will replace Dave Mosby, who was term-limited, giving the city council three new faces among nine voting members.
On election night, Lopez was credited with 1,106 votes, but he lost a vote during the recount.
“During the hand recount it was discovered that a voter had scratched through the name of Mr. Lopez,” Jackson County Election Board Director Tammy Brown said in an email to the Journal. “Voter intent was clearly apparent so one vote was deducted from Mr. Lopez’s total.”
Accounting for the four write-in votes, Lopez won with exactly 50 percent of the vote. Seif finished with 49.82 percent of the vote after the recount, which was automatically triggered because the margin was less than 1 percent.
The certified results will be delivered to the city of Lee’s Summit on Thursday, the same day the new mayor and council members who were elected last week are scheduled to be sworn in at the end of this week’s city council meeting.
The new council’s first official meeting will be April 19.
Lopez lauded the Jackson County Election Board’s professionalism during the recount, which he said took a couple hours.
“It’s a very efficient process, very well-organized,” Lopez said. “They go through every precinct. They have all the ballots in devoted, individual bags, and go precinct by precinct with staff people counting and recounting — one by one. It’s very tedious, but very well done.”
Despite the narrow margin of victory, Lopez believes he has a mandate to fulfill his campaign promises as he joins the city council.
“Whether it’s one vote, four votes, 100 votes, especially on a local election, the democratic process does work,” Lopez said. “… But that process is over — the campaign, the political process, the counting of votes is over. It doesn’t matter by what margin. I won fair and square and that was a message of people wanting change and a different kind of leadership, at least in our district. I’m confident in what I can do in working with my colleagues and the direction we can take our city.”