PALMER — The city of Palmer certified the city council elections on Monday, following one of the closest mayoral races in Palmer history.
Running for re-election, Mayor Edna DeVries received 267 votes following the meeting of the Canvas Board to consider 141 early, questioned, absentee and special ballots on Friday, October 4. Jim Cooper, Palmer’s mayor from 2001 to 2004, received 264 votes. With only three votes separating the two candidates, Cooper applied for a recount by the canvas board on Monday.
“After recount the numbers did not change from the numbers that were received so they turned out to be exactly the same,” said Palmer city clerk Norma Alley.
The canvas board met at 10 a.m. Monday to tally votes by hand following the electronic counting of votes on Friday and achieved identical results. The last recount application was during the 2015 election. Cooper’s recount application was for precincts 11-70 and 11-75. Though Palmer voters turned out in record numbers for early voting, after consideration of the early, questioned, absentee and special ballots by the canvas board on Friday, the voter turnout was only 11 percent. During the 2018 election, Palmer voters turned out a clip of 16 percent. The record for early ballots was set this year at 104. The next highest number of early ballots was in 2016 when 91 ballots were cast before election day.
“I think it was a good election cycle. I think a lot of information was out there and has been garnered and we’ll hopefully be able to share it amongst each other and continue to move our city forward in the direction that we all want it to go,” said Cooper at Monday’s election certification.
DeVries retained her mayor’s seat by three votes and Richard Best made his return to the council on Monday. Steve Carrington won reelection for a two-year seat on the council and first-time candidate Jill Valerius received the highest number of votes for the three year seat with 263.
The ballot advisory question whether or not to enact term limits for council members passed by a wide margin, receiving 408 yes votes and only 114 no votes. Though voters turned out in record numbers for early voting, overall voting numbers were low. A total of 538 ballots were counted. DeVries received over 200 votes more than her total during this year’s election just three years ago, when she received 795 votes for mayor in 2016 while running unopposed. Of the 30 absentee by mail ballots issued, 17 were returned. Of the early, questioned, poll questioned, and special needs ballots, 20 of the ballots issued were counted. Following the meeting of the canvas board for the recount on Monday morning, the council certified the election and selected Deputy and alternate Deputy Mayors at their election certification meeting on Monday night. Linda Combs was elected Deputy Mayor. The votes for Deputy and alternate Deputy Mayor were identical, with DeVries, Best, Carrington and Combs casting votes for each.