Republican challenger Trent Minner said late today that he will seek an “official hand recount” of all ballots cast in his Nov. 8 race for the state House District 56 seat now held by Democrat Steve Magie.
After all votes were counted earlier this week, Magie took a 10-vote lead over Minner.
“Given the closeness of this race and out of respect for all of the voters, I have petitioned the Faulkner County Elections Commission for a recount. … I have faith in the integrity of our elections and in those who worked so hard to oversee and facilitate this election, but with such narrow margins, a hand recount in this situation is an appropriate step we intend to take,” Minner said in a statement.
In response to a question, Minner stressed that he thought the commissioners “have the prerogative on how they want to conduct the recount, but my understanding is they will examine and do a hand recount of the ‘remake’ ballots.”
Unofficial vote totals after provisional and absentee ballots were taken into account by the commission earlier this week were:
Steve Magie 4,051
Trent Minner 4,041
Howard Heffington 273
Heffington ran as a Libertarian.
The three-member commission, consisting of two Republicans and one Democrat, reviewed 118 in-person provisional ballots; just five of those were counted. Ballots were ruled out for reasons ranging from voters not being registered in Faulkner County, to late registration, to failure to register. A few voters had moved out of the county.
The panel also accepted and counted 34 absentee ballots that had not been counted on election night.
The commission has said two military ballots in the district were outstanding. They will be counted if they arrive by late next week.
Minner, 30, is an assistant state attorney general and Conway native. Magie, 69, is a Conway ophthalmologist.