Farrell, Knox file for recount in Janesville City Council race

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Elliot Hughes
Monday, April 11, 2016

JANESVILLE—Despite a ballot-adding error during the April 5 election, Janesville's Municipal Board of Canvassers confirmed the same three winners for city council Monday.

But Jim Farrell and Steve Knox, who officially finished several dozen votes shy of winning, have filed for a recount.

“I am going to ask for a recount by (each) ward and as thorough as possible,” Farrell, an incumbent, said Monday.

Last week, unofficial results initially had Jens Jorgensen, Paul Williams and incumbent Richard Gruber winning city council seats by at least several hundred votes.

But the day after Election Day, officials at the Rock County Clerk's Office revised their vote totals for the city council and Janesville School Board after discovering a human error in the way the votes were added. Correcting that error meant erasing nearly 300 of Williams' votes.

After the board of canvassers counted another 48 absentee ballots Monday, Farrell trailed Williams by just 26 votes, with Knox down by 35.

Now both of them want assurance that the final count is the right count.

“In light of what happened, I think just to make sure, I would request all wards be recounted,” Knox said.

According to the Government Accountability Board, Knox barely missed qualifying for a free recount. But Farrell, who does qualify, officially filed for the recount Monday, City Clerk-Treasurer David Godek said. Therefore, neither candidate will be charged a fee.

Godek said the recount will be completed by Saturday at the latest.

Godek said a recount has not been done for a city council race in his nine-year tenure at City Hall. He was unsure if there had been one before 2007.

Monday was supposed to be the last meeting in which Farrell presided on the council, but he did not attend. The council had planned to recognize him for his service to the city but pulled the item after he didn't show.

Council member Mark Bobzien, who did not run for re-election, was recognized for his two years of service.

He thanked his family and applauded city employees for their hard work.

“I truly came to appreciate how hard city employees work,” he said of his time on the council.

Council President Douglas Marklein called Bobzien a “gentleman” with “great ideas.”

Monday's canvass meeting reported 21,082 people voted in the council race, a 60.7 percent turnout among registered voters.

Last updated: 7:53 pm Monday, April 11, 2016

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