McKenzie wins New Carlisle election, but opponent ponders recount

Becky Mckenzie was declared the winner of the New Carlisle special election Monday after all the votes were counted.

The final total showed McKenzie won the election by seven votes — 165 to 158.

However, McKenzie’s opponent, Amy Hopkins, says she is pondering paying for a recount.

“It’s been a long journey and it’s really close,” she told the Springfield News-Sun. “I’m thinking about a recount because it was a new system and new equipment. Then again, I’m not sure because I kind of just want it to be over.”

Hopkins and McKenzie started seeking the council seat back in July after former councilmember Aaron Leighty resigned because he moved out of the city.

Hopkins has five days to decide whether or not she will pay for the recount. It will cost her $180 if she elects to pursue a recount.

The city council first attempted to fill Leighty’s position themselves by taking applications and conducting interviews. However, that attempt quickly became contentious.

The council members then tried to select a new member on Aug. 23, but ended up deadlocked between Hopkins and McKenzie. New Carlisle Mayor Ethan Reynolds then had an opportunity to call a special meeting on Aug. 29 and planned to appoint his choice - Hopkins, he said.

But, before he was able to do so, it was pointed out by a person who attended the meeting that the legal advertisement announcing the meeting that was published in a local newspaper wasn’t clear about the purpose of the meeting. Because it was unclear if the meeting was legal, Reynolds decided not to appoint Hopkins then.

He attempted to hold an emergency meeting on Aug. 30 — the last day he was eligible to appoint someone to the council. But, New Carlisle Council members Ronald Cobb, Bill Cook and Mike Lowery could not attend that meeting - each saying they had prior engagements. The three men had originally voted to add McKenzie to the council.

Because the council nor the mayor made a selection, the city called a special election. Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said the election cost the city about $9,000. The turnout for the election was 10 percent, according to the board of election statistics.

Voters made their choice on May 7. The unofficial results showed McKenzie leading by eight votes — but the election board said there were nine absentee ballots still out that could be counted if returned with a proper post stamp and there were two provisional ballots cast.

The Clark County Board of Elections held a meeting Monday and determined one absentee ballot was returned and the two provisional ballots that were cast should count.

Hopkins ended up cutting McKenzie’s lead by one, but it wasn’t enough to change the result.

“I’m excited and I hope to do a good job,” McKenzie said.

She said she will respect Hopkins decision if she decides to request a recount.

“I welcome a recount if Amy decides to request one to ensure all votes have been counted,” she said.

165- Votes cast for Becky Mckenzie

158- Votes cast for Amy Hopkins

$180 - cost of a recount if Hopkins decides to ask for one.

Continuing coverage

The Springfield News-Sun has covered the New Carlisle vacant council seat since Aaron Leighty resigned in July.

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