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Recounts coming for two Tampa City Council districts

The second place spot for District 1 is separated by just 0.13 percent.

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office expects to order a recount in Tampa City Council Districts 1 and 3 Thursday evening.

Municipal races separated by one half of one percent or less trigger an automatic machine recount.

In unofficial election results as of Thursday afternoon, the second place spot for District 1 is separated by just 0.13 percent and District 3’s second place race is exactly 0.5 percent.

The first place finishers in both races have already been decided. Joe Citro earned more than 31 percent of the vote in the District 1 race while John Dingfelder brought in 49 percent, just shy of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avert a runoff.

Walter Smith II has the edge for second place in District 1 with 8,033 votes while Alan Clendenin trails by just 55 votes.

Stephen Lytle is up over Nicholas Glover in District 3 by 212 votes. Despite the likely recount, Glover has already conceded the election.

The elections office will not officially call a recount until after its canvassing board meets Thursday afternoon at 5.

If ordered, the recount will take place Friday morning beginning at 8 a.m.

During the machine recount, all voted ballots from the City of Tampa election will go through high-speed scanners to recount the votes in the two affected races. The office estimates the recount will take six to eight hours.

After the machine recount, the Canvassing Board will determine whether a manual recount should be ordered. A manual recount would be required in races separated by just one quarter of 1 percent. Based on the existing vote tallies, that’s likely to be the case in the District 1 race.

The manual recount, if necessary, would begin late Friday afternoon after the machine recount is complete.

Eight counting teams will be set up to review more than 7,000 ballots with under and over votes. Under votes are ballots in which no one is indicated to have voted in the race while over votes are ones in which more than one vote appears to have been cast.  

Representatives for each of the affected candidates may observe and issue challenges during the manual recount. Members of the public and the media can also observe.

The Canvassing Board will certify the results Friday evening after all recounts have concluded.

The recounts will occur at the Robert L. Gilder Elections Service Center at 2514 N. Falkenburg Road in Tampa.

Whichever candidates are determined to have received the second highest number of votes in the two races will advance to a runoff election April 23.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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