IDANHA, Ore. — It took a month and a recount to determine whether six votes or seven were enough to win a city council election.
It will take longer to figure out if those who win with so few votes will take the jobs.
In Idanha, incumbent city councilor Robert Weikum received the most votes for the three available positions with eight votes, but it took a recount to break the four-way tie for the other two seats, giving Jeff Yohe and Traci Martinez the jobs.
If they want them.
Part of why it took so long to determine winners was no one filed to run for the positions.
“That’s politics,” said Yohe, the incumbent mayor.
When most people win an election, they know it – or at least have a good idea – within hours of the first round of results being released.
In Idanha and Gates, those elected to public office are now finding out.
The situations in Idanha and Gates are more complex as both cities straddle Marion and Linn Counties and, especially in an election that was so close, both counties have to certify their elections.
In Gates, Daniel Tucker – who ran a successful write-in campaign in three weeks – won the mayor’s race with 84 votes to beat incumbent mayor Jerry Marr’s 47.
The three city councilors elected were Carole Anne Boniface (62), Tom Smith (55) and James Hensell (46), who were aligned with Tucker’s write-in campaign.
“The votes are official and now they have to accept the nomination,” Gates city recorder Traci Archer said. “They have until the 17th to turn those back into me.”
Marion and Linn Counties underwent recounts of the Idanha city council elections last week.
In the original combined results for the open city council positions – including one position that has been open all year – Don Spier, Yohe, Karen Clark and former mayor Martinez each had six votes.
Idanha city recorder Rebecca Oladeinde said her task now is to find out if those elected are willing to serve.
Oladeinde said Monday she planned to mail forms to the candidates to ask if they are.
After six years of planning, Idanha is scheduled to start construction of a new $1.7 million water treatment facility and new water distribution lines to the city.
Yohe said he is likely to serve again.
“In all reality, yeah, though I’ll most likely be accepting that to see these projects through,” Yohe said.
“In a sense, the wheels of government turn slowly. We kind of had to play through it.”
By city charter, the top two in voting serve four-year terms, meaning Weikum will serve four years if he accepts.
Yohe and Martinez, if she accepts the job, will determine between them who will have a four-year term and who will have a two-year term.
“If we can’t, we’ll flip a coin,” Yohe said.
In Idanha, the city council votes for a mayor from among the city councilors.
Susan Smith and Linda Stice are the two Idanha city councilors who still have two years remaining on their terms.
One of the positions that was to be filled this election had been vacant about a year.
“We’ve been looking, but nobody has stepped up,” Oladeinde said. “When we go into the new year, we’ll have five.”
The Idanha city council meeting where the new city councilors will be sworn in is Jan. 8 and the same Gates city council meeting is Jan. 17.
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/bpoehler