It's Carter, Cox and Kunisch in a squeaker - The Explorer: Import

It's Carter, Cox and Kunisch in a squeaker

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Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 11:00 pm | Updated: 7:52 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

May 17, 2006 - In one of the tightest elections in Oro Valley history, the town's voters May 16 apparently re-elected Kenneth "KC" Carter and elected Don Cox and Al Kunisch to fill the three open seats on the council. Carter had the most votes with Kunisch second and Cox third.

Incumbent Councilwoman Paula Abbott was in fourth place, 18 votes behind Cox. Only 63 votes separates Carter from Abbott, just mere tenths of a percentage point difference.

Incumbent Councilwoman Conny Culver received the least amount of votes and challenger Kathy Pastryk the fifth most. Both were several hundred votes behind the leaders.

The results are unofficial. There are an unknown number of provisional ballots still outstanding that could affect the outcome, according to Town Clerk Kathi Cuvelier. Under the new state law, Proposition 200, voters must show proper identification in order to cast a ballot. Those without the correct ID are given provisional ballots and then have until 5 p.m. May 19 to present their identification.

Cuvelier said Arizona election law allows for recounts only when 10 votes or less separate candidates. Otherwise, recounts only will be conducted by court order.

A voting machine snafu in Oro Valley caused a delay in the election results, with final results not posted until after 3 a.m. May 17.

Voter turnout in Oro Valley was 32.4 percent, down from 53.6 percent in the March 14 primary election.

Carter said he attributes his victory to his campaign effort and his consistency on the town council.

"I worked hard going door to door, and that pays off in an Oro Valley election," Carter said. We're gonna have two new council members, and I intend to work with them."

Kunisch said he learned he had won at about 4:50 a.m. when he awoke and checked the county's Web site.

Cox said that he is thrilled to be in third place and in line for a council seat even though he only narrowly nudged out incumbant Paula Abbott.

"Obviously, there were enough people that thought I had the right message. It was an extremely important election for Oro Valley," Cox said.

Culver said she learned of the results about 6 a.m., and though disappointed, said she was "fine" with the result.

"I'm hopeful the community will get behind this new council and … stop all the bickering and move the town forward," Culver said.

Pastryk said other candidate's negative campaign ads unfairly discouraged voters from supporting her.

"I though some of the recent ads were misleading and I thought they were underhanded," Pastryk said. "I was affected more than I thought I would be (by the election results). I couldn't sleep well last night."

Late into the evening on May 16, only 39 percent of precincts in Oro Valley had their results reported on the Pima County Division of Elections website.

Brad Nelson, elections director for Pima County, said the delay in election results was most likely caused by a technical glitch that prevented election officials in Oro Valley from electronically transferring vote counts to the central Pima County election office.

However, he said the county was experiencing similar problems in other areas and did not know the specifics of what went wrong in Oro Valley.

"If they weren't able to modem those results, they'll have to bring them down physically," Nelson said. "Most precincts we're still waiting for are in outlying areas."

At 9 p.m., two hours after the polls closed, election officials could be seen carrying bags and boxes of ballots out of council chambers in Oro Valley Town Hall and loading them into a Ryder van, presumably to drive them to downtown Tucson and deliver the election results.

"We'll actually process them again to make sure what was done at the (Oro Valley) library was exactly what we needed to report," Nelson said.

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