MANATEE -- A recount is slated Thursday to decide the winner of the Manatee County Commission District 2 Democratic primary between challenger Charles B. Smith -- who at the close of election night Tuesday held an unofficial five-vote margin -- and incumbent Michael Gallen.
Mike Bennett, supervisor of elections, said the recount will be at 10 a.m. at the elections office in Bradenton.
The Manatee County Canvassing Board, comprised of Bennett, Manatee County Commission Chairman Larry Bustle and Manatee County Court Judge Mark Singer, will review the votes. The board is the official body that decides all election issues.
However, the board will not review provisional ballots until later in the day, so official results may not be announced until after 5 p.m., said Bennett.
A voter can cast a provisional ballot if eligible to vote but unable to cast a regular ballot due to some defect such as improper identification.
A person who casts a provisional ballot can return to the elections office and bring proof to "cure" whatever defect marred their voting effort.
"Anybody who voted a provisional ballot has until 5 p.m. (Thursday) in the afternoon to make it good," Bennett said Wednesday.
With all 70 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Smith, a Palmetto city commissioner, received 1,029 votes, or 34.4 percent, to Gallen's 1,024 votes, or 34.2 percent. A second Democratic challenger, Corie Holmes, received 884 votes, or 29.5 percent.
Smith said he planned to attend the recount, with attorney and state Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg. But he said he did not expect the razor-thin win to change.
"We're declaring victory. We're just going through the process of what the state says is mandated," Smith said Wednesday. "We trust Mr. Bennett to oversee the election in a honorable way, and
we have no evidence he has done anything different."
Gallen could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The winner of the recount will face write-in candidate Troy Thomas in the Nov. 4 general election.
In other election news, Bennett said software troubles caused delays in posting results Tuesday. Results were not posted until 8:20 p.m. after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Bennett said all the information was on the computers at the elections office, but there was a delay in posting them to the official website because "the people who design and build the website were having issues with their software."
Asked if the matter had been corrected, he said: "We won't know until the next election. I have no idea what happened."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.