It could cost him up to $15,900, but for his campaign and his own peace of mind, George Mitcham wants a recount.
The Denton County prosecutor who challenged and lost to incumbent County Criminal Court No. 3 Judge David Garcia by just 29 votes said the margin was too small to not have the ballots recounted.
“To know for sure is something I have to have,” Mitcham said Wednesday. “I don’t want five years down the road to be asking myself, is that the accurate count?”
Mitcham trailed by 39 votes at the end of election night last week. But after the provisional ballots and mail-in ballots were counted, the gap had narrowed to 29 votes, with Garcia still the winner, according to Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips.
Mitcham has until Monday to file the recount request with the Denton County Republican Party.
The cost for a recount is $100 per precinct. There are 158 precincts in Denton County and early voting is counted as one precinct, bringing the total to $15,900, Phillips said.
Mitcham can get one of two types of recounts. He could ask for an electronic recount, in which election officials would re-read the ballot data that has already been read.
The other option is a manual recount, which would involve officials pulling the data off a central device that stores the information from each machine at a given polling site.
Phillips said that data is used to print a paper representation of the ballots voters cast. Those papers are then recounted by hand.
The process would involve reprinting about 30,000 vote records. Three-person teams are then used to count the ballots.
Garcia said that while Mitcham is entitled to a recount request, he doubts it will change anything.
Phillips recalled the last recount was for a city council race in 2011.
“It’s a candidate’s right to request a recount especially in a race that close, but you have to remember this isn’t back in the times of 40,000 ballots hand-counted,” Phillips said. “Even your paper ballots are electronically counted these days. The accuracy is there with our system. When we did the city recount in 2011, it came out exactly the same.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.