King County Elections certified Luke Wilbanks won the Buckley City Council election by one vote on Dec. 6. Image courtesy of King County

King County Elections certified Luke Wilbanks won the Buckley City Council election by one vote on Dec. 6. Image courtesy of King County

Wilbanks wins close Buckley race

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

Determining a winner in the council’s Position 3 race required the Pierce County Elections Department to count every vote by hand. But, in the end, nothing changed and Wilbanks was officially the winner by a 455-454 margin.

That’s exactly where Wilbanks and Chuck Helmer stood on election night, Nov. 7, and that’s where things remained Nov. 28 when the county certified the general election.

Because the margin was less than one-fourth of 1 percent, a hand count was required.

The Elections Department started that task Dec. 4 and certified its findings a second time two days later. According to the department’s website, Buckley ballots were isolated and sorted by precinct, then placed into two stacks – one for Wilbanks and one for Helmer. Ballots were then manually counted by a pair of election workers, then counted a second time.

Wilbanks will fill the Position 3 seat vacated by Marvin Sundstrom. He opted against running for re-election, choosing instead to challenge incumbent Pat Johnson for the mayor’s chair. Johnson won a third term by a slim, 12-vote margin.

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