SWEET HOME — Sweet Home residents will have to wait until Tuesday to find out whether incumbent Bruce Hobbs or challenger James Goble will be seated on the City Council in January.
After a recount of the November 4 ballots, the two men are tied at 925 votes each, according to Linn County elections supervisor Derrick Sterling.
Sterling said the ballots were counted on Tuesday and one vote was taken from Goble's total because it was actually an “inadvertent mark.”
The county has now certified the vote and sent the results to Sweet Home City Manager Craig Martin by email and in hard copy form.
Martin said that at last week’s regular meeting, councilors decided to hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 to certify election results.
“It has not happened in the history of the city council,” Martin said. “The charter says the winner will be determined by lot, which could mean anything from drawing names to tossing a coin or cutting cards.”
Martin said he has heard of similar events occurring around the state in recent years.
There were seven candidates for four seats on the city council on the Nov. 4 ballot.
According to the final election results, incumbent Greg Mahler was the top vote-getter with 1,303. Newcomer Ryan Underwood got 1,156 votes as did fellow newcomer Jeffrey Goodwin with 938 votes.
According to Sweet Home charter, the top three finishers serve four-year terms.
The fourth-place finisher gets a two-year term.
Hobbs and Goble were tied with 916 votes, but there were several hundred ballots yet to be counted that had been dropped off in other counties or had signature issues.
Staff members spent a couple weeks counting those ballots and verifying signatures, including making photocopies and send them to voters.
When that process was complete, it appeared Goble's tally had grown to 926 votes and Hobbs had 925 votes.
That was close enough to trigger an automatic recount.
The county had to complete a recount for Ballot Measure 92, the GMO reporting issue, before it could take on the Sweet Home recount, which was done on Thursday.
Hobbs, 38, is a real estate investor who has served on the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce board, and the city’s traffic safety, all hazards mitigation and budget committees.
Goble, 40, is a production manager at Ti-Squared and has served on the city’s Planning Commission and is coordinating development of a BMX track at Sankey Park.