Recount coming: Spokane Valley councilman Higgins leads Johnson by 68 votes

<p><p>The Spokane Valley City Council race between incumbent Rod Higgins and challenger James “JJ” Johnson is officially heading to a recount.</p></p><p><p>Spokane County certified the election Tuesday. Overall, the county saw 37% voter turnout for this year’s general election.</p></p><p><p>The Higgins-Johnson race is the only one yet to be finalized.</p></p><p><p>Higgins has a mere 68-vote lead, with 10,375 votes to Johnson’s 10,307. That gives Higgins exactly 50% of the vote while Johnson has 49.7%.</p></p><p><p>Races separated by less than 0.5% and fewer than 2,000 votes trigger an automatic recount.</p></p><p><p>Per Washington law, the Higgins-Johnson race forced a machine recount. If Higgins and Johnson were separated by less than 0.25% and fewer than 1,000 votes, the county would be doing a hand recount.</p></p><p><p>On election night, it looked like Johnson had beaten Higgins, who has served on City Council since 2013. With 80% of Spokane Valley’s ballots cast, Johnson had 50.5% of the vote to Higgins’ 49%.</p></p><p><p>That didn’t give Johnson much breathing room, but it wasn’t a great outlook for Higgins either. Later arriving ballots tend to trend more conservative, which favored Higgins, but the 1.5% gap was sizable given only 20% of vote remained to be counted.</p></p><p><p>Higgins said he thought he’d need a miracle in order to come back. And in his words, he got one.</p></p><p><p>As the elections office released more ballots, Higgins kept gaining ground. On election night, he was down 253 votes, but he surpassed Johnson by taking 54% of the 4,098 votes counted after election day.</p></p><p><p>Unfortunately for Johnson, the recount isn’t likely to do him much good. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said in recent years, Spokane County recounts haven’t changed more than a few votes.</p></p><p><p>Dalton said the county will conduct the recount on Nov. 30 and certify the results of the recount Dec. 1.</p></p>