As the vote-by-mail tallies came to an end and the live ballots came in, the difference between Cooper and Sahli-Wells was just one vote; Cooper with 974 and Sahli-Wells with 973. Malsin was comfortably ahead with 1,188 and Zirguilis, as expected, trailed with 397. Things were almost as predicted, but to have a one-vote split left off the usual wisdom that the mail-in votes had decided the winners. What had been thought to be very close race between Cooper and Sahli-Wells became an absurdly tight squeak. The live votes would have to make the decision.
Frances Talbot-White of the League of Women Voters acted as hostess of the evening while Assistant City Manager Martin Cole was the official in charge.
The percentage of voters who mailed in ballots was sightly higher than those who showed up to vote in person.
“It costs about $100,000 to put on a city council election in Culver City,” said Cole. “Compare the importance of an election with it’s value, it’s priceless.”
After a long and painful break in the process caused by the printer running out of toner ( can we get past the 20th Century technology, please?) the precincts were counted and the race was over.
The final totals- Zirgulis with 770, Cooper 2279, Sahli- Wells 2237, and Malsin 2663, left Malsin with the security of his seat, and the rest breathing their sighs, either of relief or disappointment.
But as the crowd began to clear the chamber, Cole announced that it was still to be certified, and that there were enough uncounted mail in ballots and provisional ballots- more than a hundred- that the results could turn again.
So while Cooper and Sahli-Wells have the night to recover, there may be more news about the election on April 26, at the next council meeting.
April 26- certified-
Provisional ballots and vote by mail are still to be counted –