For the second time in six months, Lovel Pratt and Bob Jarman squared off on the campaign trail with a seat on the San Juan County Council at stake.
At this point, it appears the result will be the same.
Jarman, who emerged with a narrow win and a council post in November, by 99 votes, gained the early lead in Round 2, claiming a 113-vote advantage in the District 1 race following Tuesday's initial tally of the April 23 countywide election.
Pratt outpolled Jarman, however, in February's three-person primary.
Updated results are expected Wednesday, by 5 p.m., with as many as 1,300 more ballots expected to be counted before final results are certified on May 7.
With 5,818 ballots tabulated as of Tuesday, Jarman had 51 percent of votes counted, 2,827; Pratt, with 2,714 votes, had 49 percent of the early results. Voter-turnout as of Tuesday totals 49 percent, with 11,952 registered voters. Another 1,300 ballots would push total turnout up to 60 percent, which, according to Auditor Milene Henely, manager of local elections, would be a pretty healthy mark for an April election.
"Sixty percent would be astonishingly high for a spring election," she said.
Still, Henley does not expect the trend established in the early results to change when final results are totaled.
Tuesday's election follows on the heels of a series of changes to the county charter approved by voters in November, which reduced the size of the county council from six elected officials to three, redrew the legislative districts of the council from six to three as well, and instituted countywide elections for each of the newly created council positions.
In addition, changes to the charter turned those three council offices into full-time positions, eliminated the position of county administrator, and delivered responsibility for both legislative duties and day-to-day management of the county into the hands of the council.
As full-time legislators with executive powers, the three council members chosen in the April 23 election will each earn $75,000 a year, plus benefits.
— Scott Rasmussen