A recount could determine who serves on Powell City Council for the next four years.

After the smoke cleared on Election Day, Nov. 5, incumbent councilman Jon Bennehoof led newcomer Nicole Scott by 11 votes for the third available seat.

Bennehoof, currently serving as Powell mayor, earned 1,176 votes (16.18%) to Scott's 1,165 (16.03%), according to final, unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections.

Challenger Heather Karr and incumbent Dan Swartwout took the first two seats, receiving 1,681 (23%) and 1,587 (22%) votes, respectively.

Rounding out the race were Gary Yashko with 1,058 votes (15%) and Christopher Shear with 602 (8%).

According to board of elections director Karla Herron, a decision on a recount for the third seat will be determined later this month. A ruling on provisional and absentee ballots will be made Nov. 25, with all original votes plus provisional and absentee ballots counted Nov. 26.

At that point, a recount may be triggered. In a race with multiple candidates and multiple open seats, Herron said, only the number of votes cast for the final spot are used to determine a recount.

In this case, the third seat on council is the one in question, so votes cast for the top two vote-getters would not be used in the total, she said.

The remaining votes would be totaled, and if the difference is less than one-half of 1%, a recount will be held within 10 days, Herron said.

She said 24 provisional ballots need to be verified. A provisional ballot is one in which the eligibility of the voter must be confirmed.

Herron also said 30 absentee ballots are in, with 23 more outstanding that would be valid if postmarked by the day before the election. Those ballots could impact how the math is done in determining a recount, she said.

Herron said the current threshold is 20 votes, which means a recount would be necessary, given the 11-vote difference between Bennehoof and Scott.

Bennehoof said the results were "tighter than I expected." He said there was pressure on his campaign on social media "that I did not respond to."

"I'm just going to wait for the process to work itself out," he said. "It will be unfortunate if a recount doesn't go my way, but I believe in the process."

Scott said her message "resounded with residents."

"As a first-time candidate, it's been a great experience. I'm excited to see the results," she said, adding she will remain actively involved with the city "no matter what the ultimate results are."

Karr, the top vote-getter, called the results "surreal."

"I'm stunned, overwhelmed and humbled," she said.

She said she intends to be a fresh voice on council and that opening up the lines of communication with Liberty Township is her "No. 1 priority," adding she has been communicating with Bryan Newell, who was elected to the open seat on the Liberty Township board of trustees, on the subject.

Swartwout congratulated Karr, calling her "a strong addition to City Council."

"I ran a positive campaign that highlighted my track record, and the results show that voters are pleased with what we have accomplished," he said.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews