ST. JOSEPH, MI. – James Hightower won the Benton Harbor mayor’s race Thursday night after a four-hour recount.
Incumbent Wilce Cooke filed paperwork for a recount after losing to Hightower by eight votes from the November 8 election.
Both candidates picked up votes in the recount but Hightower still led with eight votes.
The recount procedure was very thorough. Election workers, the city clerk, and the deputy clerk from Benton Harbor counted the absentee ballots and ballots from wards one through four, by hand, twice.
After the results were triple-checked in a ballot tabulating machine, the numbers were then verified by the four-member Canvassing Board to make sure the totals matched with the results from the general election.
There were no changes in the vote totals for each ward.
Hightower and Cooke each earned two votes in the absentee ballots that were recounted. Cooke received 675 votes and Hightower received 683 votes.
Bryan Joseph, a commissioner at large, who was seeking re-election, wanted a recount for his race. Joseph came in third and his vote total did not change from 592.
Opponent Mary Alice Adams earned an additional vote in the recount for an official count of 632 and David Shaw earned three votes for an official total of 664.
Ruthy Harrison earned six additional votes in the recount. She earned an official total of 358.